Coast Guard rescues 4 from overturned skiff

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – A Coast Guard helicopter rescue crew from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., rescued four people from a capsized 22-foot skiff 10 miles southeast of the mouth of the Cape Fear River this morning.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector North Carolina received a call from the girlfriend of one of the passengers at 10:26 p.m. last night stating that the recreational vessel Hunter had been overdue since 4 p.m.

Crews aboard a Coast Guard C-130 airplane and an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter responded and searched for three hours before the helicopter crew located the capsized vessel and hoisted the passengers aboard at 3:41 a.m.

The four men went out on a fishing trip at 8 a.m. from the N.C. Wildlife Boat Ramp and the vessel reportedly capsized around 9 a.m. for unknown reasons.

The passengers had been sitting on the overturned hull of the vessel for 19 hours and were sunburned and suffering from mild hypothermia. They were transported to Wilmington International Airport where Wilmington Emergency Medical Services were awaiting.

The Coast Guard encourages all boaters to always check current and forecasted weather conditions before going out on the water and keep and check safety equipment and signaling devices such as a strobe light or flares, a working radio, and an Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon onboard their vessel.

“If they had an EPIRB, we would have found them hours earlier,” said Lt. Ally Shuler, a helicopter pilot at Air Station Elizabeth City who flew in this response. “We would have known as soon as they capsized, and they may have just spent a few hours on the water instead of 19. The EPIRB can dramatically increase the chances of recovery.”

If you have any problems viewing this article, please report it here.

Recent Posts


  1. Mona & Brad Stamper says:

    Thank God and everyone one who assisted in there rescue.These guys are my friends and i’m so thankful they made it home safe and more important ALIVE.

  2. andrew bucy says:

    where can i see hte video

  3. cgnews says:

    There is no video that we are aware of.

  4. andrew bucy says:

    Patti Mctonic
    Thank you to all the rescue crew and anybody else that had a part of this special mission that means so much to us that you went and saved those four men i am the parent of Tiffany Mctoinc and the girlfriend of Nick Via one of the victims of the crash and thank you again that our prayers were answered on July 20 2008 and all four men were alive.

    Thank you

  5. andrew bucy says:

    who is the girlfriend of nick via

  6. Cindy Trowbridge says:

    My son John Trowbridge was one of the 4 rescued. I will personaly like to give my thanks and graditude to the people who found and saved my son, and his 3 friends. John has a 9 month old daughter named Makayla and a loving girlfriend Carla. When I spoke to John and he told me evertyhing that they went through and all the emotion that the 4 of them shared, I know that the bond those 4 men have is a friendship that will last a lifetime. Their are no words or emotions that can express the way I am feeling right now as a mother. I love my son very much, and because of you he is still alive, and can watch his beautiful daughter grow up. Thank you.

  7. Jennifer Cecil says:

    I am the cousin of John Trowbridge, one of the victims from this crash and I want to say thank you to everyone who assisted in the rescuing of these 4 men. God bless every one who was involved with bringing a happy ending to this tragedy.

  8. Vicki Manning says:

    I want to thank all the people who were involved in the rescue of these 4 men. My son, Dustin was one of the rescued. When I received the call about the search, it was one of the most terrifying moments of my life. I can’t even imagine the terror these boys felt. I live 700 miles away and had to rely on phone contact. I love my son very much and will always have a special place in my heart for each of these boys. God bless them and God bless the men of the Coast Guard for their dedication and determination.

  9. Kelly & Ryan Mathis says:

    I am the cousin of Dustin Manning, also one of the victims of this horrible accident. Thank you to everyone who helped to rescue Dustin and his friends. We are all so happy and grateful that everyone is now safe and more importantly alive. God Bless.

  10. Carol & Tom Haas says:

    I am the aunt of Dustin and would like to thank all those in the rescue operation of these four young men. I am thankful that they continued searching throughout the night and did not give up. After speaking to my nephew and reliving this experience with him, I realize it must have been terrifying for them. Thank God for the Coast Guard and rescue team. It is truly a miracle that they survived this ordeal. Bless you all!

  11. Cindy & Kyle Bittner says:

    My cousin Dustin was one of the four men rescued. I am truly grateful to all those that responded and helped to rescue these individuals that resulted in a happy ending for all of the families. Thank goodness there are people that dedicate their lives to the Coast Guard to help save lives. We love you Dustin.

  12. carlotta says:

    just wanted to say that i am glad everyone was found and was safe!! i am a friend of joe’s and his mother called me and i could tell in her voice that something was wrong– when she told me they found everyone, the first thing i thought was…”bad news”…but she said they were taken to the hospital and everyone was ok– joe has a daughter and just recently became an uncle and ive known his mother for a very long time and we are very close, thank God everyone made it back home to their families… my fiance goes out on his jetski as much as possible and i worry about him when hes out there but i am glad that the coast guard is there to take care of any emergencies that may occur!!

  13. Tiffany says:

    I am the girlfriend of Nick and a friend to the other three men that were on the boat. I have never been so scared in my life when we couldn’t reach any of them on thier cell phones and even more when I found out what happened to them. Thanks so much to the rescuers and everyone involved. We all were worried about those men, thank you to everyone for thier prayers and support through all of this. They all escaped with only minor injuries and a heck of a tale to tell. I know it has changed mine and Nick’s life forever since this has happened. Thank god Nick, Jon, Joe and Dustin (and the rescuers) all made it out unharmed! GOD BLESS!!! ~Tiffany

  14. crystal says:

    id like to say thanks to all tha rescue crew im tha cusion of joe and until today didnt have a clue as to tha accident and im glad to know ther all alive and say god bless all of you guys