Coast Guard rescues 3 near Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The Coast Guard rescued three adults from a sinking boat approximately 2 miles from the third island of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, just before dark.

A 911 dispatcher contacted Station Cape Charles watchstanders at 8 p.m. stating they received a call from a crewmember aboard a sinking 19-foot boat. A 25-foot rescue boat crew from the station launched to search for the boat.

A rescue helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., and boat crews from the Virginia Marine Police and the Virginia Beach Fire Department also searched for the boat.

“When we got to the third island of the bridge tunnel, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel police were searching from the island and there were several recreational boats in the water,” said Petty Officer 1st Class John Soderstrom, the rescue boat coxswain. “We didn’t see anything around the island, so we were about to start a search pattern with the last 10 minutes of light that we had remaining.”

Then, Petty Officer 3rd Class Aron Flavin saw something about 2 miles from the island. With binoculars, they saw a man waving at them from the bow of a partially-submerged boat and two other adults clinging to it in the water. The station crew pulled them out of the water and transported them to Lynnhaven Marina in Virginia Beach.

All three crewmembers had life vests.

“We recommend that boaters always wear their life vests when they are on the water,” said Soderstrom.

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