WILMINGTON — Crews with the U.S. Coast Guard and local agencies rescued five people Saturday from a capsized vessel about three miles off the coast of Carolina Beach.
According to the Coast Guard, a mayday call requesting help was received by Sector North Carolina watchstanders in Wilmington at 7:30 a.m. Saturday.
A helicopter crew discovered a 20-foot boat that had capsized about three miles offshore Carolina Beach at 9:50 a.m. Saturday. The helicopter crew hoisted three people from the hull and took them to New Hanover Regional Hospital in Wilmington.
While in en route, the hoisted survivors confirmed there were still two people swimming for shore. The Coast Guard continued search efforts and found located the two additional people in the water. They were pulled aboard the 45-foot Coast Guard response boat and taken to Station Wrightsville Beach to be transferred to awaiting EMS personnel.
“It was definitely a case that shows our search and rescue system works, from our Rescue 21 system to working with our local partner agencies and coast guard assets,” said Chief Petty Officer Chris Martinez, command duty officer at Sector North Carolina.
Multiple agency assets were launched to conduct search and rescue patterns, including a C-130 Hercules aircraft crew and MH-60 Jayhawk Helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City; a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Station Wrightsville Beach; a 29-foot Response Boat-Small crew from Station Oak Island; 16-foot skiff from Kure Beach Fire and Rescue; as well as a vehicle and jet ski from Carolina Beach Fire Department.
Martinez thanked Station Wrightsville Beach and Air Station Elizabeth City for rescuing those aboard and in the water, as well as Kure Beach Fire and Rescue and Carolina Beach Fire Department for their support and the Sector North Carolina watch team for coordinating the search and rescue.
The search covered 613 square nautical miles and took more than four hours. To watch a video of the Coast Guard’s rescue effort click here.