Helicopter Crew to Be Recognized for Valour Rescue

SAVANNAH, Ga. – The Coast Guard helicopter crew that rescued one of the crew members from the tug Valour 65-miles off the coast of Myrtle Beach, S.C., will receive an award for their efforts Tuesday.

The Valour, a 135-foot sea going tug, was struggling in 20-foot seas and fierce 70-knot winds when it began taking on water and requested assistance Jan. 18, 2006. The helicopter search and rescue crew immediately launched from Air Facility Charleston, S.C., and traveled 120-miles through sever thunderstorms to find the Valour.

The rescue swimmer was lowered in the dark and violent seas once the aircrew was on scene. The aircrew spotted one survivor in the water without a survival suit and out of reach from the sinking Valour. The swimmer successfully battled gusting winds and pounding surf to reach and hoist the crewman from the Valour.

The helicopter crew was able to vector in the tug Justine Foss to the scene to render assistance to the remaining crew members of the Valour before reaching a critical fuel state.

The aircrew was forced to fly through heavy thunderstorms, severe turbulence and low visibility to reach the nearest airport before running out of fuel.

Lt. Patrick Lineberry and Petty Officer 2nd Class David Fanelli will be the two aircrew members receiving the Coast Guard Commendation medal Tuesday for their actions from Rear. Adm. David Kunkel, commander of the Seventh Coast Guard District.

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