TOPSAIL ISLAND, N.C. (WNCT) – The Coast Guard rescued five people from the water eight miles off Topsail Island, North Carolina, Sunday.
Coast Guard Sector North Carolina watchstanders in Wilmington received a mayday call on Channel 16 at 9:53 a.m. that a 19-foot boat was taking on water with five people aboard. Watchstanders then received a Pender County 911 call at 9:55 a.m. that the boat had capsized and five people were in the water.
Three of the people were wearing life jackets; two were sitting on the capsized boat’s hull.
Sector North Carolina watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast, diverted an already-airborne HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and launched 29-foot Response Boat-Small and 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crews from Station Wrightsville Beach at about 10:00 a.m.
The Hercules crew arrived on scene at 10:35 a.m. and dropped rescue gear and a flare to mark the vessel’s position.
The RB-S crew arrived on scene, pulled all five people from the water and transferred the people to the RB-M by 11:15 a.m.
The RB-M crew transported the people back to the station and a waiting EMS team by about 12:40 p.m.
Sea Tow Wrightsville Beach salvaged the capsized vessel.
“This is a perfect example of how vital it is to not only make sure you have life jackets on board, but also that they are readily available in case of an emergency,” said Stephen Sawyer, Sector North Carolina command duty officer for the case. “This situation also illustrates how important it is to work closely with our local partners. Pender County 911 relayed critical information to us about the vessel’s position that helped us reach the people quickly.”