Off-duty Coast Guardsmen, good Samaritans rescue Gloucester fishermen

Coast Guard District 1 NewsBOSTON — Two Boston-based off-duty U.S. Coast Guardsmen on a fishing trip and good Samaritans aboard a fishing vessel rescued two Portsmouth, N.H., fishermen about 20 nautical miles east-southeast of Gloucester, Mass., Sunday.

The Coast Guard Sector Boston Command Center received a Mayday call at 9:06 a.m., from the 50-foot fishing boat Elizabeth Ann reporting their boat was on fire.

Coast Guard personnel soon lost communication with the fishing boat after smoke engulfed the pilothouse and forced the crew to evacuate the space where their marine radio was.

Two vessels in the area overheard the distress call and responded. The pleasure boat Mad Money with two Coast Guardsmen aboard, Chief Petty Officer George Bannon from the 1st Coast Guard District Command Center and Petty Officer 2nd Class Alex Waide from the Sector Boston Command Center, arrived on scene to render assistance.

“We heard the Mayday call come over the radio and we realized we weren’t too far away from them,” said Waide. “Sure enough we saw the boat about a half mile off our bow with a lot of black smoke.”

Waide said the crew was outside on the deck of the fishing vessel when they arrive due to the amount of smoke in the pilothouse.

Bannon and Waide began relaying vital information to command center personnel and passed two of their fire extinguishers to the fishing boat crew which allowed them to clear the way enough to reach their own fire extinguishers in the pilot house.

The other boat crew in the area who heard the Mayday call was the fishing vessel Lily Jean. They offered their fire extinguishers to help extinguish the fire. Bannon and Waide drove their boat approximately 800 yards to the Lily Jean and maneuvered their vessel around the boat’s lowered fishing gear to get the extra fire extinguishers to take to the Elizabeth Ann.

Using all of the fire extinguishers from the Coast Guardsmen and good Samaritans aboard the Lily Jean, the crew of the Elizabeth Ann was able to subdue the fire that originally began in the engine room.

After the fire was extinguished, a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew from Coast Guard Station Gloucester towed the Elizabeth Ann to Gloucester.

No injuries were reported.

“We were at the right place, at the right time, listening to the right channel,” said Waide. The Coast Guardsmen always leave their radio on Channel 16, the international hailing and distress channel, while out on their boat.

“We rely on good Samaritans all the time so it was nice to be on the other side and help out these fishermen,” said Bannon.

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