Prompt responses to calls for help saves two lives

BOSTON- Two people were rescued today after several local agencies and good Samaritans responded quickly to two unrelated Coast Guard urgent marine broadcasts calling for help for vessels in distress off the coast of Maine.

Coast Guard Station South Portland received a call from Sea Tow at 1:14 p.m., reporting that an 18-foot pleasure craft was aground near Cushing Island and people were possibly in the water.

The station’s watchstander immediately issued an urgent marine information broadcast over the radio, standard procedure when responding to a distress call, to alert boaters in the area of the situation.

“The main priority in a search and rescue case is to find the nearest vessel and get them there as quickly as possible,” said Ken Stuart, a search and rescue specialist at Coast Guard Sector Northern New England. “It doesn’t matter who arrives first, as long as they are willing and able to help a fellow mariner in need.”

Portland Water Taxi arrived on scene to find the vessel operator in the water trying to free the vessel. The taxi service dislodged the stranded vessel, which was carrying four passengers, but damaged its own propeller in the process.

Sea Tow towed the water taxi vessel, and a 25-foot rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station South Portland escorted the recreational boat to Cushing Island.

No injuries or pollution were reported.

Later, about 2:18 p.m., Coast Guard Station South Portland received a 911 call reporting that a person in the water was yelling for help near Pomroy Rock.

The station’s watchstander began an urgent marine information broadcast to encourage nearby boaters to lend a hand. The station also launched a 47-foot rescue boat to the scene.

The Falmouth Police Department was on a routine patrol with two Coast Guard members aboard and diverted to the scene.

When they arrived, two good Samaritans in kayaks were trying to help the person in the water, who had fallen off a dinghy.

The crew aboard the Falmouth Police boat pulled the person from the water and transported the person to awaiting paramedics at East End Beach.

“Urgent marine information broadcasts are a great tool to alert local partners and good Samaritans of emergency situations,” said Stuart. “We truly appreciate the quick response in both of these cases.”

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