Coast Guard rescues 3 boaters after vessel capsizes 8 miles east of Tybee Island

Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium file photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Corinne Zilnicki

Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium file photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Corinne Zilnicki

CHARLESTON, S.C. — The Coast Guard rescued three boaters Wednesday after their vessel capsized 8 miles east of Tybee Island, Georgia.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Charleston received a single call via VHF-FM marine band radio channel 16 at 2:15 a.m. from a male voice saying “mayday”. Rescue 21, a search and rescue technology tool which assists search coordinators with location based on radio signals, provided an approximate position of the vessel.

A Coast Guard Station Tybee Island 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew and a Coast Guard Air Station Savannah MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew launched at approximately 2:54 a.m. and began searching.

At 3:22 a.m., the RB-M crew noticed a flashing light which was being used by the crew of the vessel and shortly after located three males and their capsized 32-foot century boat. The RB-M crew embarked the boaters and transported them to Station Tybee Island where EMS were waiting.

“The coordination between the responding units and search and rescue mission coordinators as well as the VHF radio and flashing light that the crew of this vessel used were all instruments and critical links that led to the successful rescue of these boaters,” said Anthony Kozak, a search and rescue controller at Sector Charleston. “Furthermore, not only did Rescue 21 pick up the call, but the direction finding gear on the two remote fixed facilities led us right to the boat in distress.”

One boater suffered a minor shoulder injury.

“The fact that the rescue unit comes from Station Tybee Island is yet another example of a resilient Coast Guard unit that continues to operate while still making repairs and recovering from Hurricane Matthew damage,” said Rear Adm. Peter Brown, Commander of Coast Guard District Seven based in Miami, Fla, “The recent approval on supplemental funding for the Coast Guard will go a long way to ensuring rescue missions like this can continue, and help units throughout the Seventh District fully rebuild following two years of hurricane impacts and damage.”

The cause of the vessel capsizing is under investigation.

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