Coast Guard rescue swimmer injured while saving three from sinking catamaran

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – Three people were safely rescued from a sinking catamaran off the coast of North Carolina Tuesday afternoon.

A Coast Guard HH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., rescued three people from a 35-foot catamaran approximately 290-miles east of Elizabeth City after the boat sustained a three-foot gash in the hull and began taking on water. The Coast Guard was initially notified when an Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) belonging to the vessel was activated.

When the air crew arrived on scene shortly after 5 p.m., Petty Officer 1st Class A.J. Thompson, the crew’s rescue swimmer, was injured after his arm was twisted in the hoist cable. Despite the injury, Thompson was able to continue with the mission and safely rescue all three people. The air crew transported the survivors to Bermuda due to weather.

The Coast Guard encourages all mariners to equip their vessels with safety equipment such as EPIRB’s. When activated, the beacons send out a distress signal that allows the beacon to be located by the satellite system and search and rescue aircraft to locate people, boats and aircraft needing rescue.

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