CAPE LOOKOUT, N.C. (WAVY) — The Coast Guard rescued two people from a boat fire on Thursday morning about 15 miles southeast of Cape Lookout in North Carolina.
Watchstanders received a mayday call from a person aboard the 35-foot fishing boat saying it was on fire and taking on water.
The two people aboard put on life jackets, took a satellite radio and prepared to abandon ship into a life raft.
Watchstanders sent out an urgent marine information broadcast and launched a 47-foot motor lifeboat boat crew from N.C. Coast Guard Station Fort Macon to assist.
The USNS Patuxent was in the area, heard the broadcast, and launched a helicopter aircrew to assist with the rescue.
Once on the scene, the Station Fort Macon boat crew was able to safely recover the two people unharmed from the life raft and bring them back to Station Fort Macon where family was waiting.
TowBoatUS reported that the boat sank outside of the channel approximately seven miles south of Beaufort Inlet in 60-feet of water.
No injuries were reported.
“This search and rescue case was a textbook abandon ship evolution. The mariners did everything right to save their own lives by using the correct lifesaving equipment available to them, to include their VHF radio, life jackets, life raft, EPIRB, and strobe lights,” said Cmdr. Tracy Wirth, deputy sector commander for Coast Guard Sector North Carolina.
“The simple use of this equipment can mean the difference between life and death, and this positive outcome is based on the mariner’s own emergency preparedness by simply having the equipment and more importantly knowing how to use it.”
As for the pollution levels resulting from the boat fire, Petty Officer Tom Agzigian, a marine science technician from Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Fort Macon, said the following:
“TowBoatUS monitored the vessel throughout the entirety of the fire. After the vessel sank, they reported no discharge of fuel or oil into the water. Due to the size of the fire, length of time it burned, and thick black smoke, it is presumed that any diesel fuel and lubricating oil that was on board was burnt up in the fire with no recoverable products left.”