Coast Guard rescues fishing crew from sinking vessel

1st Coast Guard District NewsBOSTON — A U.S. Coast Guard boat crew rescued two people around 5 p.m. from a sinking vessel approximately three miles northeast of Block Island, R.I., Saturday.

Watchstanders from the 1st Coast Guard District Command Center in Boston received an alert from an electronic position indicating radio beacon from the 55-foot fishing vessel Elizabeth Helen, homeported in West Kingston, R.I., at approximately 3:54 pm.

Coast Guard Station Point Judith, R.I., launched a 47-foot Motor Life Boat to locate the missing vessel. The rescue crew located the life raft after spotting a red flare and retrieved the men to safety at 4:48 p.m. The fishing vessel capsized with 900 gallons of diesel fuel on board in approximately 130-foot water during a haul back.

“We saw the red flare go off and were able to spot their life raft in the water,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew McKenzie, the coxswain from Station Point Judith. “It is extremely important to have functional safety equipment on board especially now as the temperature begins to drop.”

The crew met awaiting medical personnel at Station Point Judith. No injuries were reported.

“The success of this case is a real testament to the diligence and effort of the watchstanders and crews involved,” said Lt. Joe Klinker, First Coast Guard District public affairs officer. “With 20,000 fishing vessels operating in the Northeastern U.S., the Coast Guard is monitoring those waters, 24 hours a day, for exactly this reason.”

Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod will conduct an over flight on Sunday to investigate any potential of pollution.

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