Coast Guard Rescues Carolina Fisherman

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Coast Guard and the Beaufort Marine Rescue Squadron from Port Royal, S.C., rescued an overdue fisherman on the Broad River between Paris Island, S.C., and Hilton Head, S.C., at about 1:45 a.m.

Ernest Wright, 58, from Beaufort, S.C., left from Archers Creek on Paris Island at about 1 p.m. Friday for a day of fishing. The retired Marine makes the same fishing trip just about every day returning home at approximately 5 p.m. Wright’s wife became worried when her husband didn’t return Friday evening like he was supposed to and contacted the Military Police at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Paris Island.

“Mrs. Wright knew what kind of boat her husband had, when he departed, when he was supposed to return and what general area he was going to be fishing,” said Lt. Cmdr. Eric King, the chief of the Sector Charleston Operations Center. “This is a great example of how a float plan (letting a loved one know where you’re going and when you will return) allows us to quickly develop a good search area and expedite a rescue.”

The MPs called the Coast Guard and the Beaufort MRS to assist in the search for the missing fisherman Friday at 11:04 p.m. Coast Guard rescue coordinators from Sector Charleston launched a rescue helicopter crew from Air Facility Charleston to assist in the search. Beaufort MRS launched three boats to help search.

The Coast Guard helicopter crew located Wright with his overturned vessel at 1:45 a.m. The aircrew directed a rescue boat from Beaufort MRS to Wright’s position.

“When we spotted Mr. Wright, he was still with his overturned vessel,” said Lt. Jim Boger, a member of the helicopter rescue crew that located Wright. “Any time a person goes in the water they should stay with their boat. A boat is an easier target for an aircrew or surface asset to spot.”

The Beaufort MRS boat crew pulled Wright to safety and transported him back to Archers Creek. Wright did not suffer any injuries.

Wright was also wearing a lifejacket during his ordeal. Boaters who wear lifejackets have exponentially greater odds of surviving a boating accident. Boaters should be wearing their lifejacket at all times while they’re on the water because conditions and situations can change rapidly.

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