Coast Guard rescues 3 from aground vessel

Great Lakes Coast Guard NewsCLEVELAND — A Coast Guard aircrew rescued three people from a vessel that began taking on water after running aground in Thunder Bay near Alpena, Mich., Thursday morning.

A search-and-rescue controller at Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste Marie, Mich., was contacted at 8:33 p.m. Wednesday by boaters aboard a 22-foot pleasure craft who were en route back to shore after a fishing trip in Lake Huron.

The four people reported they had been battling severe weather all afternoon and had run out of gas, so they requested assistance from the Coast Guard. Sector Sault Ste Marie immediately began issuing a marine assistance radio broadcast.

In situations that don’t qualify as life-threatening distress, a MARB can announce a mariner is in need of assistance, and other mariners may respond.

After several radio broadcasts went unanswered, and the weather conditions worsened, the boaters reported the boat was grounded and taking on water. A rescue boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Alpena, Mich., launched, but soon found the sea conditions were beyond the maximum operating parameters of the boat.

In light of increasingly dangerous conditions, the Coast Guard directed an aircrew aboard an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich., to launch at 11:20 p.m. to assist the disabled vessel. The rescue aircrew arrived on scene at 12:21 a.m.

Three of the four individuals were airlifted aboard the helicopter, while the owner/operator decided to stay onboard his boat. The three men were then taken to Alpena Regional Airport where they were interviewed by a Coast Guard boarding team from Station Alpena.

The man remained aboard the boat overnight and is reportedly making plans for a family member to retrieve him today.

Despite strong urging by the Coast Guard for the owner to leave the vessel, he declined. For his safety, Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste Marie continues to monitor the situation.

At this time, the stranded individual is still declining Coast Guard assistance. According to friends and family ashore, he still wishes to remain aboard the boat and has not been responding to Coast Guard communications.

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