Coast Guard Responds To Overdue Boater In Chesapeake Bay

BALTIMORE – The Coast Guard located a missing boater today who left from Tangier Island, Va., Saturday and had not returned home.

Rescued was David Pruitt, 56.

At about 1 a.m. today, the Coast Guard Sector in Baltimore, Md., was notified by the Virginia Marine Resource Commission (VMRC) that Pruitt was reported overdue by his brother Tommy Pruitt Saturday evening. Pruitt had departed Tangier Island en route to Smith Island, Md., at about 1 p.m. Saturday in a 16-foot skiff boat.

A rescue helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J., deployed to join the search for Pruitt. Also searching were units from the VMRC, the Maryland Natural Resource Police (MNRP) and Coast Guard Station Crisfield, Md. The crew of the helicopter conducted multiple passes of the area last night but did not see Pruitt. The Coast Guard helicopter crew returned to the air station after the decision was made another search would be done at sunrise.

During the first-light search, the crew of the rescue helicopter spotted Pruitt in the Chesapeake Bay just west of Tangier Island. While maintaining a visual on Pruitt, the helicopter crew vectored the VMRC unit to his location where he was towed back to shore.

Pruitt’s engine had failed, and he spent the night on the boat.

The Coast Guard urges mariners to always outfit their boat with a marine-band radio. Marine-band radios are the most reliable way to communicate and will help provide valuable information to search and rescue personnel in the event of an emergency while on the water.

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