Coast Guard crews help unconscious tug boat operator on Cape Fear River

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Crews with the U.S. Coast Guard and Brunswick County EMS boarded a tug boat in Southport to help the tug operator, who was unconscious. Photo courtesy of the Coast Guard.
Crews with the U.S. Coast Guard and Brunswick County EMS boarded a tug boat in Southport to help the tug operator, who was unconscious. Photo courtesy of the Coast Guard.

Crews from the U.S. Coast Guard helped an unconscious man aboard a tug boat near Southport on Tuesday.

The Coast Guard Station Oak Island received a call from the tug boat J.P. McAllister just after 1 p.m. Tuesday, reporting that the tug’s operator was unconscious and unresponsive, according to the Coast Guard. The man fell unconscious while mooring the Chembulk Barcelona, a 523-foot motor vessel, at the Archer Daniels Midland Company facility on the Cape Fear River near Southport.

A 47-foot lifeboat crew from Station Oak Island was returning from a training exercise at sea, heard the distress call over the radio, and diverted to the tug. At about 1:15 p.m., the lifeboat crew arrived on scene and transferred Coast Guard personnel to the tug. A Coast Guard member administered first response medical care to the unconscious man, who regained consciousness.

A 29-foot response boat crew launched from Station Oak Island at 1:31 p.m., and picked up Brunswick County EMT personnel before heading to the scene. The response boat crew arrived on scene and transferred the Brunswick County EMT to the tug.

The man was stabilized and transported to Deep Point Marina in Southport, where he was placed in the care of Brunswick County EMS. He was reportedly in stable condition. The man was taken to Dosher Memorial Hospital for further medical treatment.

“Due to the dynamic situation aboard a tug in the process of mooring a freighter, with other vessels in the immediate area creating a hazardous operating environment, decisions had to be expedited to get this man the care he needed as soon as possible,” Petty Officer 1st Class Todd Murray said. “We’re grateful to have a strong partnership with Brunswick County and were able to get him the help he needed today.”