Coast Guard rescues 2 survivors clinging to debris in Pamlico Sound

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Two men were rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter crew Wednesday morning after their fishing boat capsized Tuesday near Hog Island.

One man’s wife called for help Tuesday night, reporting the generator on the men’s boat was not working properly and the men were trying to find safety near shore in the deteriorating weather. They had departed Ocracoke Tuesday morning and were planning to shrimp in Pamlico Sound before unloading their catch in Engelhard.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector North Carolina Command Center coordinated search efforts with Air Station Elizabeth City aircrews, Station Hatteras Inlet boat crews, North Carolina wildlife enforcement officers and local police.

At about 6:20 a.m. Wednesday, an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew located the overturned Mad Lady II, the missing 35-foot fishing boat, about 4 miles south of Wysocking Bay. Neither of the men was with the boat, but another mariner reported a debris field about 7 miles northeast of the boat’s location.

The aircrew began searching that area and found both men clinging to debris.

The men were rescued and taken back to Air Station Elizabeth City, where they met EMS. Neither men were reported to have serious injuries, but were taken to Sentara Albemarle Medical Center.

Lieutenant Commander Kevin Karow, who coordinated the search and rescue mission, said the early notification to the Coast Guard was key to the successful search and rescue planning.