MIAMI – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa rescued two people after the vessel, Big Mess, began sinking 15 miles west of Bimini, Bahamas, Thursday.

Charles A. Hotchkiss, 39, a Miami resident, and Stephanie Stanley, 31, sent out a mayday call shortly after 6 p.m., which was heard by the Tampa and a Coast Guard HU-25 Falcon crew from Air Station Miami flying on a scheduled patrol in the area.

The crew of the Tampa arrived on scene and lowered one of their small boats and sent a rescue and assistance team to help Hotchkiss and Stanley in controlling the flooding.

Once the rescue team arrived, Hotchkiss notified the team of a 12-inch crack in the hull causing the flooding.

The rescue team from the Tampa took the two off the 28-foot boat and deployed a dewatering pump and minimized how much water the vessel was taking on per minute.

“I’m sure the people aboard were relieved and thankful to see the Coast Guard stripe appear on the horizon minutes after their plea for assistance,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Thomas Johnson, the operator of the Tampa’s rescue boat.

A 41-foot utility boat from Station Miami Beach later arrived on scene relieved the R&A team from the Tampa and embarked the two uninjured people onto their boat and towed the vessel to the 79th Street Causeway boat ramp, here.

According to Hotchkiss and Stanley they were on their way to the Bahamas when their boat began taking on water.

The Tampa is homeported in Portsmouth, Va.

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One Comment

  1. Mary Murphy says:

    We are thankful you are both safe. God bless the Coast Guard!