Coast Guard rescues 2 in Chesapeake Bay

BALTIMORE – The Coast Guard rescued two injured mariners today in the Chesapeake Bay after they used Morse code to indicate their distress to a passing ship.

Coast Guard Sector Baltimore watchstanders received a call from Capt. Bruce McLaughlin, a Maryland pilot helping the M/V Afhrodite Leader during its outbound transit, stating that he noticed a sailboat signaling S.O.S. four miles east of the Patuxent River in the Chesapeake Bay. Coast Guard launched a 25-foot response boat crew from Station St. Inigoes, Md., to the area and found a sailboat with two people aboard.

Albert Labos, 62, and Theresa Labos, 64, were transiting from Annapolis, Md., to their home in England when both mariners had reportedly suffered injuries as a result of being caught in a storm Friday night. Albert Labos’ reportedly suffered injuries to his hands and Theresa Labos’ reportedly suffered injuries to her ribs. Additionally, the storm damaged their mast, which disabled their radio so they were unable to call for help. Mr. Labos shot flares off through the night with no result. “It’s recognizable that Mr. Labos was aware enough to look through his injuries and be able to use another one of the internationally recognized distress signals after he ran out of flares,” said Scott Winslow, a search and rescue coordinator with Coast Guard Sector Baltimore. Mr. Labos used a flashlight to signal the passing Afhrodite Leader.

Crewmembers from the Coast Guard response boat were able to get the couple off their vessel and take them to the Md. Rt. 4 Bridge near Solomon’s Island where they were met by local EMS and taken to St. Mary Hospital.

The sailboat was anchored and will be towed by Tow Boat U.S. later today. The vessel does not pose a hazard to navigation.

The Coast Guard urges mariners to carry signaling devices such as flares, mirrors and whistles onboard their vessels. Signaling devices may help improve your chances of being rescued in the event of an emergency on the water.

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