Coast Guard rescues three mariners from sinking vessel

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CALIBOGUE SOUND, S.C. — The Coast Guard rescued three mariners from a sinking vessel Saturday in the vicinity of Calibogue Sound, S.C.

Watchstanders in the Coast Guard Sector Charleston command center received a report from Beaufort County Dispatch stating the 62-foot fishing vessel Christina Leigh was taking on water, at 3 p.m. The three mariners aboard had to place the call via cell phone since their VHF radio was damaged.

Sector Charleston personnel put out an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast and launched crewmembers from Coast Guard Station Tybee Island at 3:04 p.m. A crew aboard a rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Savannah was also launched. The helicopter crew arrived on scene and located the vessel at 4 p.m.

An initial survey showed the Christina Leigh was listing to the right and was being battered by the surf. The three crewmembers were standing on the bow of the vessel, signaling the helicopter. The helicopter crew directed the 25-foot response boat from Station Tybee to the location of the vessel. All three distressed mariners were transferred onto the Coast Guard boat at approximately 4:06 p.m.

None of the three rescued mariners reported any injuries. All three were wearing their life jackets during the incident. Coast Guard crews vacated the scene due to an approaching storm and tornado warning as soon as the three mariners were rescued.

The Christina Leigh master reported the vessel has approximately 280 gallons of diesel fuel aboard. Coast Guard marine investigators and pollution investigators have been notified and will attempt to obtain a salvage plan from the owner. A Coast Guard Auxiliary aircraft is scheduled to conduct an aerial assessment of the site of the sinking for potential pollution. Station Tybee personnel are scheduled to transport the marine and pollution investigators to the scene to conduct an inspection at 8:45 a.m., Sunday.

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