Coast Guard, partner agencies search Lake Champlain after distress call

HC-144 from Cape CodBOSTON — Coast Guard Crews and partner agencies responded to a call for help on Lake Champlain near Valcour Island, New York, Friday afternoon.

About 2:40 p.m. watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Northern New England’s command center received a call over VHF-16 radio, a male stating “My boat help”.

Watchstanders responded to the call, but did not receive a reply or any further transmission.  They triangulated an estimated position and a 25-foot response boat from Coast Guard Station Burlington was launched to search.

An HC-144 Ocean Sentry fixed wing aircraft crew launched from Air Station Cape Cod to join the search.

In addition to the Coast Guard assets, the Vermont State Police and South Hero Fire Department also launched small boats to assist.

Once on scene the boats searched for two hours and the HC-144 searched for one hour. The four search assets combined to cover an estimated 200 square nautical miles, with negative sightings, further transmission, or correlating information.

“We were working with very limited information, but the initial call was indicative of a mariner in distress,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Kurt Hein, an operations specialist at Sector Northern New England’s command center.

The Coast Guard planned to resume the search at first light Saturday.

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