Coast Guard rescues three fishermen off Charleston coast after shrimp boat sinks

CHARLESTON, S.C. – A Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew from Air Facility Charleston rescued three fishermen approximately 45-miles east of Charleston Sunday. ??

The Coast Guard was notified of a maritime distress via a 406 MHz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) from the fishing vessel Captain Smoke, a 39-foot shrimping vessel at about 9:17 p.m. Sunday.

A Coast Guard Air Facility Charleston rescue helicopter crew was launched shortly after the distress call and arrived on-scene at 10:14 p.m. The crew located a debris field after observing three flares shot from the surface. Three fishermen were located alive in a life raft, and the rescue helicopter aircrew deployed a rescue swimmer. All three fishermen were safely hoisted aboard.

The fishermen are being transported to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

This rescue greatly illustrates the vital importance of having safety equipment in the event of an emergency. An EPIRB when registered disseminates an emergency signal during a maritime distress that is detected by satellites and transmitted to rescue coordination centers worldwide. If the EPIRB is properly registered, the Coast Guard will be able to use the registration information to immediately begin action on the case. If the EPIRB is unregistered, a distress alert may take as much as two hours longer to reach the Coast Guard over the international satellite system.

In addition, the use of signal flares enabled the Coast Guard rescue crew to pinpoint the location of the three fishermen, which is very challenging during a night rescue.

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