Coast Guard Rescues Fisherman

MIAMI – A Coast Guard aircrew has rescued three fishermen whose vessel was adrift and without power in six- to-eight foot seas and sustained 20- to-30 knot winds 60-miles northeast of Myrtle Beach, S.C., today at about 2:30 p.m.

Anthony Culler of Little River, S.C., Charlie Lee of Garden City, S.C., and Clay Ware of Cayce, S.C., were aboard the 43-foot fishing vessel Bonney Anne when their anchor line broke sometime Saturday night. The vessel then experienced an electrical fire leaving the vessel with out power drifting dead in the water.

The crew of the Bonney Anne activated their emergency position indicating radio beacon today at about 10 a.m. Coast Guard rescue coordinators at the District Seven Command Center in Miami launched a helicopter from Coast Guard Air Facility Charleston, S.C., to respond to the call for help.

Rescue coordinators also diverted a Coast Guard fixed wing C-130 airplane from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., to assist in the rescue.

When the two Coast Guard air crews arrived at the Bonney Anne’s position, the crew of the fishing vessel told rescue crews that they did not want to abandon ship. The Coast Guard helicopter began to run low on fuel and returned to the Myrtle Beach Airport to refuel. The Coast Guard C-130 stayed with the vessel to monitor fishing vessel’s situation.

Coast Guard rescue coordinators contacted the USS Bainbridge (DDG-96) from Norfolk, Va., to assist in the rescue. The Bainbridge arrived to assist the crew of the Bonney Anne. By that time, weather conditions had continued to deteriorate, and a repair party from the Bainbridge couldn’t safely make it to the vessel.

Rescue coordinators received information that weather conditions at the Bonney Anne’s position would continue to deteriorate and 12- to-20 foot seas with sustained 30- to-40 knot winds are expected later tonight. The Coast Guard helicopter launched again to hoist the fishermen.

Coast Guard rescue crews told the fishermen about the impending weather, and the fishermen decided to abandon ship for their own safety.

The helicopter crew arrived and hoisted the three men to safety while the C-130 crew kept a watchful eye from above acting as a communications platform for all rescue assets involved.

The three men were taken to the Myrtle Beach Airport and are reportedly in good condition.

The Bonney Anne is still adrift of the coast of Myrtle Beach. The crew of the fishing vessel left their EPIRB aboard the vessel, so rescue coordinators could track it.

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