On Thursday, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued two fishermen from a sinking vessel off the coast of North Carolina, pulling them to safety at the same moment that the stern slipped below the surface.
Coast Guard Sector North Carolina received a distress call at about 0200 from the crew of the fishing vessel Heathers Breeze, who reported that they were taking on water. The boat was located about five miles off Engelhard, North Carolina, in the Pamlico Sound.
A Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet motor lifeboat responded to the scene, and the crew passed over an emergency pump to help out with dewatering. The crew of the distressed vessel couldn’t operate the pump, so a coastguardsman from the motor life boat transferred over to show them how to prime it. The servicemember then transferred back over to the motor lifeboat.
About ten minutes later, the vessel began sinking by the stern, and the two mariners abandoned ship as water washed over the side. Using a throw line for assistance, the survivors swam out of the way of the sinking boat’s rigging and were recovered from the water. They were taken safely to Station Hatteras Inlet, and no injuries were reported.
“The maritime environment is often unpredictable and preparedness is crucial,” said Stephen Sawyer, Sector North Carolina’s command duty officer. “We recommend commercial fishing vessels contact their local Coast Guard commercial fishing safety examiner for a comprehensive safety exam, have a reliable means of communication, and always wear a life jacket.”