Coast Guard rescues boaters from Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in NC

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard rescued three people from a marsh in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in N.C. Thursday, after their 25-foot boat sank Wednesday evening.

At approximately 4:20 p.m., Coast Guard Sector North Carolina watchstanders, in Wilmington N.C., received a VHF-FM radio hail from a crewmember aboard a different boat reporting that his friend’s boat was having engine trouble and lost communication.

In addition to the hail, Tyrrell County dispatch informed watchstanders at Coast Guard Station Elizabeth City, in Elizabeth City N.C., that they received a call from a crewmember stating their boat sank, and they made it to shore at Long Shoal Point, in Croatan, N.C.

A crew from Elizabeth City took a 25-foot Response Boat – Small aboard a trailer to search for the boaters.

A crew aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City launched after the sheriff’s deputies and the crew with the RB-S were unable to locate the boaters.

The helicopter crew arrived on scene and located the boaters after they set off a flare. The crew hoisted the boaters aboard and flew them to the air station.

“Being prepared for anything is what makes it easier for rescuers to find people in need,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Jackson, a watchstander at Sector North Carolina. “In last night’s case, the boaters were able to take flares from aboard their vessel to shore. Once the helicopter crew was in the area, it took no time to pinpoint the boaters’ location once they set off their flares.”

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