Multiple Coast Guard units respond to sinking sailboat off N.J. coast

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – Coast Guard rescue crews from six different units, including three cutters and three air stations, responded to a sinking boat with three people aboard approximately 110 miles southeast of Atlantic City N.J., Wednesday.

The names of the crew are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Coast Guard watch standers at the Rescue Coordination Center in Portsmouth received an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon signal and determined it was aboard the 44-foot sailboat Freefall.

After obtaining this information, Coast Guard rescue crews aboard a C-130J and MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter were launched from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C. The 270-foot Coast Guard Cutters Northland and Seneca, along with the 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Mako were also dispatched to the scene.

The Elizabeth City rescue crews arrived on scene but were unable to hoist the three passengers from the Freefall after the rescue swimmer suffered an injury due to heavy seas and needed to be flown to shore for treatment.

Following this report the Coast Guard launched two MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crews from Air Station Atlantic City along with a HU-25 Falcon jet and a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews from Air Station Cape Cod, Mass.

The Atlantic City helicopter crews were able to relocate the boat’s crew and relay the position to the incoming Cape Cod rescue crews.

Upon arriving on scene the Cape Cod helicopter crew recovered one of the boat’s crew members from the water and flew him to Atlantic City where he was pronounced deceased by the Atlantic County Medical Examiner Office.

A second MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew from Elizabeth City was dispatched to the scene and hoisted the remaining two people from the sailboat and flew them to Air Station Atlantic City where they were turned over to local emergency medical personnel and transported to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City.

The incident is under investigation.

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  1. master mariners' wife says:

    Very sorry to hear about the death. The conditions were terrible and sometimes the outcome is not as positive as you hope. Turns out the two survivors are from out home town, so we are very grateful they made it safely. I would have liked to see a mention of the container ship Sealand Pride which was diverted to the scene to standby in case they could assist. It took them 9 hours to go the 85 miles, a testimate to the rough conditions. Commercial ships are sometimes called upon to at least standby at an incident, if not actively help, and the crews of these ships are always happy to do what they can.

  2. Tom says:

    God bless the fearless and brave CG men and women that put it on the line everyday to rescue all no matter the circumstances or conditions.