CAPE CHARLES, Va. – The Coast Guard helped the Newport News Police Marine Unit and Virginia Marine Police to rescue four people after their boat flooded and sank approximately six miles off the coast of Cape Charles on Friday.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads received a call from the distressed boaters at 8:21 a.m. advising that their boat was taking on water and the bilge pump was unable to keep up with the flooding.
Sector Hampton Roads issued an urgent marine information broadcast and launched an MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Station Elizabeth City and a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Cape Charles at 8:23 a.m.
Virginia Marine Police and the Newport News Police Marine Unit also launched assets to help find and assist the boaters.
One of the boaters activated the boat’s emergency position indicating radio beacon at 8:31 a.m. before the boat sank and the four people entered the water.
All four people were wearing life jackets and clung to a cooler.
The helicopter crew located the four people in the water and then broadcast their position to rescue boats at 9:19 a.m.
The Newport News Police Marine Unit recovered the people from the water at 9:21 a.m. and transported them back to Newport News.
No one was injured.
“The people set themselves up for success because they had the EPIRB and wore their life jackets,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Cowan, a pilot on the Jayhawk. “It was a happy ending for everybody.”
“They did everything by the book,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Thomas Yurkin, the coxswain of the RB-M. “They pretty much saved their own lives.”