Coast Guard assists father and daughter aboard tugboat taking on water

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter

Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter file photo

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — A Coast Guard aircrew assisted a man and child whose boat ran aground and was taking on water near the mouth of the York River Sunday morning.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads Command Center in Portsmouth were notified by the man’s wife at 11:05 p.m. Saturday evening that her husband and 10-year-old daughter were overdue in arriving at Merrimac Shores Yacht Basin in Hampton, Virginia, from West Point, Virginia.

At about 12:45 a.m., watchstanders were able to directly contact the man and learned that his 10-foot tugboat had run aground near Poquoson Flats. The boat’s battery had died, the bilge pump had malfunctioned, and the boat was taking on water.

A Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew from Coast Guard Station Cape Charles, Virginia, and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, launched to assist. Crews with Hampton Fire and Rescue, Hampton Police Department, Poquoson Fire-Rescue, and York County Fire and Rescue also launched to assist.

The Jayhawk crew arrived on scene and located the grounded tugboat. Due to the shallow water depth, the rescue boat crews were unable to reach the man and his daughter.

The aircrew hoisted the two people and transported them to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia, for medical evaluation.

Sector Hampton Roads personnel are working to determine a salvage plan for the still-grounded vessel.

“Anytime you’re planning on making a trip of any distance, be sure to let a family member or close friend know where you’re going and what time you should arrive,” said Jeffry Fox, civilian search and rescue specialist at Sector Hampton Roads. “In this case, the use of a float plan helped us team up with multiple local agencies to assist this man and his daughter.”

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