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Press Release | Dec. 20, 2023

VIDEO RELEASE: Coast Guard rescues 2 after vessel sinks 34 miles offshore Charleston

PADET Jacksonville - Office: (904) 714-7606 / After Hours: (786) 393-4138

A Coast Guard Air Station Savannah MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew located two people aboard a life raft after their 30-foot fishing vessel sank 34 miles off Charleston, South Carolina, Dec. 20, 2023. The helicopter crew safely transported the two men to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston for further medical care. (U.S. Coast Guard graphic courtesy of Sector Charleston)

Editor's Note: Click the here to download helicopter hoist footage.

CHARLESTON, S.C. — A Coast Guard Air Station Savannah helicopter crew rescued two men, Tuesday, after their 30-foot fishing vessel capsized 34 miles offshore of Charleston.

Coast Guard Sector Charleston command center watchstanders received a mayday call at 10:30 p.m., via VHF-FM channel 16 from a crew member aboard the fishing vessel stating their vessel was sinking.

Watchstanders directed the launch of a Coast Guard Station Charleston boat crew and an Air Station Savannah helicopter crew to assist. 

Utilizing direction finding technology to triangulate the last known position, watchstanders were able to identify the vessel's approximate location. Once on scene at the vessel's last known position, the helicopter crew immediately located a life raft with two people aboard.

The crew hoisted the two men and safely transported them to the Medical University of South Carolina Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital for further medical care.

"Having a marine grade radio was a major factor in this rescue and having the proper lifesaving equipment onboard furthermore assisted in saving the mariner's lives," said Lt. j.g. Colin Morgan, Coast Guard Sector Charleston command duty officer. "We want to remind all mariners to check the weather and perform a safety equipment check before going out on the water." 

"This case and its favorable outcome is a testament of the diligence and training of our Sector Charleston watchstanders and Air Station Savannah aircrews," said Lt. Michael Allen, Coast Guard Sector Charleston search and rescue mission coordinator. "The mariners were able to provide us with a chance to find them by using their marine grade radio and we utilized our search and rescue technology to pinpoint their last known location that was provided to our aircrew."

On-scene weather conditions were reported to be 17-knot winds with 5 to 6-foot seas.

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