Coast Guard Boat Capsizes En-Route to Rescue

fishing boat

By MarEx 2016-02-25 16:36:03

Rough seas and dense fog stranded a 76-foot commercial fishing vessel off New York's Rockaway Beach, about 13 miles southeast of downtown Manhattan, and capsized a U.S. Coast Guard boat that rushed to help on Thursday, but no one was injured, a U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman said.

All seven crew members of the Carolina Queen III were rescued in baskets dangling from two helicopters, assisted by a rescue swimmer in the water, said U.S. Coast Guard Operations Specialist First Class Morgan Gallapis.

The crew of the scallop fishing boat from New York called for help at 2 a.m. local time, when it got stuck in shallow waters amid six-foot seas and heavy fog at the entrance to East Rockaway Inlet, in the Queens Borough of New York.

"They ran aground and their vessel started to take on water, they feared it would capsize," Gallapis said.

A Coast Guard fleet rushed to assist, including a 25-foot response boat which capsized in the rough seas, forcing five crew members to swim about 200 yards back to Jones Beach, where they are stationed on New York's Long Island. The rescue boat was about a quarter of a mile from the fishing vessel when it capsized. The inlet water produced 10- to 12-foot waves and the vessel capsized. 

The Coast Guard vessel ran aground and is currently secured on the beach.

"We are still in the process of salvaging both vessels," Gallapis said. There were no injuries or serious medical conditions reported, she said.

The incident was blamed on a storm system that moved through the area overnight with high winds and low visibility, said Gallapis, who noted there were no violations issued.

"It’s hard to control Mother Nature," Gallapis said.