Update: Coast Guard responds to capsized vessel near Lynnhaven Inlet, Va.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – At approximately 9 a.m. Wednesday, watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads received a mayday call involving a capsized fishing vessel near Lynnhaven Inlet, Va.

Using information gathered from several Rescue 21 towers, Coast Guard rescue coordinators were able to pin point the vessel’s position and dispatch a rescue crew from Coast Guard Station Little Creek. An Urgent Marine Information Broadcast was issued to alert boaters and other agencies in the area to assist with the rescue.

A nearby Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City helicopter heard the mayday radio conversation and was diverted to assist.

Rescue crews encountered 10 kt winds and 3 to 5-foot seas at the scene.

The helicopter’s co-pilot, Ensign Danny Llanes spotted the capsized pleasure craft and the people in the water.

“After Ensign Llanes spotted the overturned vessel and the people in the water we immediately assessed the situation and prepared to deploy our rescue swimmer, Petty Officer Drew Dazzo,” said pilot Lt. William Coty.

Once in the water Dazzo quickly assessed the condition of the boaters and assisted in hoisting two people into the helicopter and transferring the remaining four people to the rescue boat crews on scene, said Coty.

After confirming all of the people in the water had been recovered the helicopter crew departed the scene and transferred their two passengers to Norfolk Sentara General Hospital.

EMS crews met the rescue boats at a nearby Virginia Pilot Association Station and transported the boaters to local hospitals for further treatment.

Two of the six fishermen that were recovered were unresponsive to medical treatment and are in the care of local EMS. The other four were treated for hypothermia at local hospitals.

The Coast Guard strongly advises mariners to follow these safety tips when heading out on the water:

  • Wear your life jacket! 85 percent of boaters who drown were not wearing life jackets. In an emergency there may not be enough time to put one on, so wearing one at all times may save your life.
  • Make certain to check the local weather prior to departing the dock. Weather can change very rapidly and you should keep a watchful eye on the forecasted conditions.
  • File a detailed float plan with friends, family, or your local marina. A detailed float plan should include the number of people on you vessel, your intended destination and estimated time of return.
  • Dress appropriately. When water temperatures drop below 70 degrees, hypothermia can become a fatal factor. Having a properly fitting Coast Guard approved immersion suit for everyone on board a vessel will greatly improve their chances of survival from being exposed to icy water. In addition, if more than one person is in the water, it is suggested that you huddle with one another and stay close to preserve body heat.

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