Coast Guard assists fishermen caught by high tide

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – The Coast Guard and local agencies responded to a request for assistance from fishermen caught in the high tide near Fortescue, N.J., this morning.

The Coast Guard was notified shortly after 8 a.m. that the fishing vessel South Wind III, a 42-foot cabin cruiser, was aground near Fortescue and that the seven men, including a 76-year-old with diabetes, had spent all night aboard the boat.

Rescue boatcrews from Coast Guard Station Fortescue and Fortescue Fire and Rescue were able to reach, but unable to remove, the seven men aboard the boat due to the marshy conditions of the area, at the southern tip of Egg Island Point in the Delaware Bay.

A rescue helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City was on scene just before 10 a.m. and transferred the men to a field in Cedarville, N.J., where they were met by Lawrence Township EMS.

The five fishermen are: Ron Lentini, 25; Joe Messmer, 76; Bob Messmer, 44; Tom Morello, 35; and Mauricio Vargas. All the men are from Norristown, Pa., or West Norriton, Pa. Also aboard was the crew of the boat, Dave Amos, 40, and Jeff Powers, 34.

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