Tangier Island – A Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City rescued four people from a grounded vessel near Tangier Island just after midnight Saturday.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Station Crisfield, Md., received a distress call at approximately 6 p.m. Friday, from the owner aboard his 36-foot boat reporting he had run aground with his son aboard, near Tangier Island.
Station Crisfield watchstanders coordinated the rescue with the Virginia Marine Police in Newport News, Va.
Both agencies arrived on scene at approximately 6:30 p.m., but the Coast Guard crew aboard a 41-foot Utility Boat was unable to reach the distressed boaters due to low water depth around the island.
The marine police 25-foot response boat crew was able to transfer the two stranded boaters onto their boat; however the vessel was made heavier by the added passengers and also ran aground.
The Coast Guard crew from Air Station Elizabeth City was dispatched aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and arrived on scene shortly after midnight, hoisting the two boaters and the two marine police boat crewmembers from the police vessel.
Rescued were Barry Walker, 34, and his 14-year-old son.
The two were transferred to awaiting Emergency Medical Services at the Tangier Island Airport. No injuries were reported.
“Before we go out on a patrol, we do a course layout,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicholas Hupp, the Coast Guard’s responding coxswain. “Boaters should take measures to layout their course beforehand taking the draft of their vessel, water depths and preferred channels into consideration. Boaters should also be sure to have all the necessary equipment for a voyage, not just a GPS and a radio, but the proper protective equipment in case they find themselves in trouble. Being in the winter months it is imperative that boaters have the proper gear to keep them warm in case they have to await assistance or end up in the water. Lastly, boaters should always pay attention to weather and tide conditions.”
Weather conditions at the time of the rescue were reported as having an air temperature of 46 degrees, water temperature of 43 degrees and 10 to 15 knots winds with two to three foot seas.
Their respective parties recovered the vessels after high tide.