Coast Guard hoists 5 people from breakwall near Harbor Beach, Michigan

Air Station Detroit MH-65 Dolphin helicopter file photo

Air Station Detroit MH-65 Dolphin helicopter file photo

DETROIT – An aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit rescued 5 people from the rocks after their fishing vessel lost power and was blown against a breakwall by high winds, Friday.

Watchstanders in the Coast Guard Sector Detroit command center received a call at 2 p.m. from the Huron County Sheriff Department about a 25-foot fishing vessel with 5 people aboard, against the rocks of the Harbor Beach breakwall.

The command center watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast and requested an aircrew from Air Station Detroit launch aboard a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter. Due to seas between five and eight feet, surface assets were not able to launch.

The Coast Guard aircrew launched about 2:25 p.m. and arrived on scene at about 3 p.m. to find the passengers, all adult males ranging in approximate age of between 18-55, had made their way safely on to the rocks.

With winds gusting up to 45-miles an hour, the Coast Guard aircrew hoisted the five people in two separate missions and brought them to a nearby field to waiting EMS. There were no injuries. Everyone on the boat was wearing a life jacket.

“We urge all boaters to check the weather forecast before deciding to venture out into the open waters,” said Lt. Cmdr. Chad Eckhardt, pilot of the aircrew. “If your boat malfunctions in heavy surf and high winds, you can find yourself in a dangerous and life threatening situation real fast. For anyone who falls into these cold waters, their trip can become deadly.”

The Coast Guard also urges boaters to have their vessels checked to make sure everything is in proper working order, especially before getting underway for the first time after the winter.

In addition, make sure there are enough life jackets on board for every passenger, and dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature. The water temperature is still in the 40s. Someone who unexpectedly falls into the cold water can quickly be overcome by hypothermia, if they survive the initial shock of the cold water and the natural gasping reflex which can cause a person to inhale water and drown.

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