Coast Guard rescues 6 from overturned boat near Cape Henry

Posted at 10:12 PM, Aug 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-18 23:12:36-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The Coast Guard rescued six mariners after their boat capsized 16 miles east of Cape Henry Sunday afternoon.

Officials say the boat flipped over due to bad weather.

Watchstanders at the Fifth District Command Center received an alert that a personal locator beacon was activated.

The helicopter rescue crew found four people on the hull of an overturned 24-foot fishing boat, and two people on the Chesapeake Light Tower.

"I will probably never be able to forget seeing the four of them sitting on top of their boat," said Lt. Townshend Hirst, a Coast Guard Co-Pilot,"A lot of our time is sadly spent searching situations where we just aren’t able to locate the individuals but to be able to actually locate somebody and know that everybody within their party was safe was definitely a good feeling."

All six were flown to Air Station Elizabeth City.

"The moment that we flew over them and saw the for them sitting on the capsized boat was a pretty incredible feeling," said Lt. Nick Kealy, Aircraft Commander.

"Everyone was trying to get the life vests out as fast as possible and some people trying to swim to the tower and I was trying to grab my bag that had my beacon in there," said Tan Boriboune, one of the men rescued on the boat. He said the group of friends went out spear fishing for the day, but there were problems when the boat started to fill with water.

Boriboune said they were out there for two hours waiting to be rescued and didn't know if help was on the way.

"Definitely longest couple of hours of my life," said Boriboune.

"I think we all got into this line of work because it’s some thing we love to do, to extend a helping hand towards those who need it. It’s just awesome to be able to help those guys," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Jimmy Hollingsworth, a Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer.

Officials say no injuries were reported.

"The owner of the PLB had just purchased his device in June and was the only one on board who had one," said James Cifers, civilian watchstander at the Fifth District Command Center. "This case could have turned out quite different if the owner had not bought and registered his device. We recommend all mariners maintain updated registration and keep these devices on them while underway so we are able to find them quickly and accurately when they need us the most."