Coast Guard rescues 2 from sinking vessel near Winyah Bay, dicscover fuel spill

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Two people are safe after their 46-foot sport fisher, Vision Quest, sank north of the entrance of Winyah Bay, S.C., Monday at 10:15 a.m.

Gary Pache, 39, and Brent Burman, 35, of Cherry Hill, N.J., were aboard the vessel when they radioed for help and abandoned the vessel in a small Zodiac inflatable boat at 10:19 a.m. A nearby Good Samaritan vessel responded to an urgent marine information broadcast and rescued the two men shortly thereafter.

The two men were transferred to a Coast Guard rescue boat from Station Georgetown, S.C., at 11:30 a.m. in good condition. Coast Guard pollution responders are currently working with the vessel owner to secure and salvage the vessel.

Coast Guard rescue crews that responded this morning observed a diesel fuel sheen at the entrance of Winyah Bay. Coast Guard Sector Charleston dispatched pollution investigators from Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Charleston to make further assessments. The owner of the vessel, Pache, reported to Coast Guard that the vessel had approximately 500-gallons of diesel fuel aboard his vessel when it sank.

A Coast Guard helicopter from Air Facility Charleston observed the vessel partially submerged this morning. The Coast Guard will fly over the area again this afternoon to monitor the pollution sheen.

Coast Guard response coordinators have not received any reports of wildlife or additional environmental impact. The Coast Guard expects that boaters transiting through the area might smell the spilled diesel downwind of the vessel. Anyone who sees impacted wildlife should contact the Coast Guard Sector Charleston Command Center at 843-724-7616.

The entrance to Winyah Bay remains open, and there has been no impact to vessel traffic in the area at this time. However, boaters who are planning to transit the area should monitor VHF Channel 16 for up to date marine broadcasts.

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources assisted in the response and will be leading the recreational boating accident investigation.

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