Voyaging casualties

Coast Guard conducts internal investigation after man dies during rescue
Nov. 6, 2015 — The Coast Guard responded to a distress call from the master of the 30-foot sailing vessel Kolina on Thursday, Nov. 5, 20 miles south of Maui. The bow was taken under tow but the mariner died during the rescue. 

The master of the vessel, a 71-year-old man, was recovered unresponsive by the crew of USCGC Kiska Friday and taken to Kawaihae, Hawaii, where they were met by EMS.

The master contacted the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center via VHF radio at about 3:50 p.m. Thursday and stated his sailing vessel was disabled and adrift. He was the lone occupant. The watch standers at Sector Honolulu directed the launch of an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point.

The Dolphin crew located Kolina about 20 miles south of Maui and 27 miles west of Kawaihae, Hawaii. Watch standers diverted Kiska to take the vessel in tow.

The crew of Kiska arrived on scene about five hours later, instructed the master to don his life jacket, provided him a hand-held radio, established a tow and began paying out line just before midnight. During the towing evolution, Kiska crew lost communications with the mariner aboard the sailing vessel and observed that the mast had snapped.

The Kiska crew cut the towline and circled back to the vessel to investigate. The Dolphin crew arrived back on scene after refueling in Maui, deployed their rescue swimmer and verified the master was not aboard Kolina. Coast Guard watch standers at Sector Honolulu issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast alerting mariners in the region to the situation and directed the launch of additional Coast Guard crews. In addition to the Kiska crew, an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew and the Dolphin helicopter crew performed a search as well.

A 45-foot response boat-medium crew arrived on scene from Coast Guard Station Maui to take the sailing vessel in tow while the search was ongoing. They located the master, caught in the rigging alongside the vessel. Due to the weather, it was determined the Kiska crew was best suited to attempt recovery of the master and did so successfully.

On-scene weather was reportedly seas up to 10 feet with 35-mph winds. Out of respect for the family, the name of the mariner is being withheld.

Coast Guard rescues three from sinking vessel east of Cape Hatteras, N.C.
Nov. 4, 2015 — The Coast Guard rescued three people Monday, Nov. 2, from a sinking vessel east of Cape Hatteras.

Sector North Carolina watch standers received a report at 7 a.m. that the 60-foot motor vessel Teal was taking on water three miles east of Cape Hatteras with three people aboard.

A 47-foot motor lifeboat (MLB) crew launched from Coast Guard Station Oregon Inlet and arrived with Coast Guard cutter Nantucket on scene at 7:50 a.m. Crews from the MLB and Nantucket deployed two dewatering pumps and assisted in dewatering Teal.

It was determined the dewatering pumps were not keeping up with the rate of flooding. The pumps were removed from Teal, and the three boaters were brought aboard Nantucket.

The survivors were taken to Morehead City.

Coast Guard monitors rescue of mariner 400 miles south of Cold Bay, Alaska
Oct. 20, 2015 — The Coast Guard monitored the rescue of a mariner in distress aboard a 30-foot sailboat approximately 400 miles south of Cold Bay, Alaska. The good Samaritan crew of Tor Viking, a vessel contracted under Shell, safely recovered the mariner and his cat.

Coast Guard 17th District watch standers received an alert from the mariner’s emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB). Watch standers launched a Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak C-130 Hercules airplane and directed the Coast Guard cutter Munro to get underway from Dutch Harbor to assist.

Alaska Rescue Coordination Center also launched two MH-60 helicopters and a refueling aircraft for long-range missions to assist with the case.

The C-130 arrived on scene and made contact with the distressed mariner who reported that he had no rudder or rigging and was taking on heavy seas.

A nearby Shell vessel, Polar Pioneer, dispatched the vessel Tor Viking to assist the mariner after being contacted by the C-130 crew.

“The assistance of the good Samaritans on this long-range distress call was vital for the success of the rescue,” said Bud Holden, a Coast Guard 17th District watch stander. Weather on scene was reported as 20-foot seas and 46-mph winds.

Coast Guard medevacs man 44 miles off Cape May, N.J.
Aug. 2, 2015 — The Coast Guard medevaced a 45-year-old man Sunday, Aug. 2, from a 39-foot recreational vessel approximately 44 miles east of Cape May.

At approximately 10 p.m., watch standers at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay received a mayday call on VHF marine radio channel 16 from the vessel Sea Robin stating there was a man overboard.

The Coast Guard issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast and launched a C-130 Hercules out of Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter out of Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City along with a boat crew from Coast Guard Station Cape May. The Coast Guard cutter Ibis also responded.

The man was located by the vessel Maersk Wesport after treading water for approximately four hours. The recreational vessel was able to throw him a life preserver and retrieve him. An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, New Jersey, arrived at the vessel, hoisted the man aboard the helicopter and transferred him to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City, N.J.

By Ocean Navigator