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USCG Coordinates Assets for a Rescue in Chincoteague Inlet

A USCG aircrew hoists sailors off a boat that ran aground in Chincoteague Inlet on Sept. 1. (Courtesy of United States Coast Guard 5th District)

CHINCOTEAGUE — Three separate United States Coast Guard (USCG) units, based at 100 miles apart, coordinated to rescue three people after their sail boat ran aground in Chincoteague Inlet on Wednesday, Sept. 1, according to a Coast Guard press release.

Coast Guardsmen at Coast Guard Sector Virginia Command Center in Portsmouth received a distress call from the stricken vessel around 2:22 p.m. The command center proceeded to issue an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast and launch crews aboard a 47-foot Motor Life Boat and a 24-foot Special Purpose Craft–Shallow Water from USCG Station Chincoteague and an aircrew aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Elizabeth City. 

When the boats arrived on scene, treacherous conditions brought about by severe weather prevented them from getting within 100 yards of the boat. Fortunately the aircrew was able to hoist sailors into the Jayhawk and transport them to Wallops Island. No serious injuries were reported.

“This afternoon’s rescue could not have been possible without the coordination of several Coast Guard units,” said Chief Petty Officer Ross Comstock, Officer in Charge of Station Chincoteague. “While we were fortunate that the boat stayed together long enough to effect the rescue, the distressed mariners were prepared with life jackets, which most certainly helped the rescue swimmer to get them from the boat to the helicopter safely.”

(Courtesy of United States Coast Guard 5th District)

Poor weather conditions were a contributing factor in the incident.

“This afternoon’s rescue could not have been possible without the coordination of several Coast Guard units,” said Chief Petty Officer Ross Comstock, Officer in Charge of Station Chincoteague. “While we were fortunate that the boat stayed together long enough to effect the rescue, the distressed mariners were prepared with life jackets, which most certainly helped the rescue swimmer to get them from the boat to the helicopter safely.”

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