Story by U.S. Coast Guard,
5th District Public Affairs
QUINBY, VA – Coast Guard and Virginia Marine
Police officers rescued two men early Wednesday morning who were
stranded in the marshlands near Quinby. Coast Guard Station
Wachapreague received a phone call from Rudolph Powell at 9:12 p.m.
Tuesday reporting a vessel had not returned to Quinby after a fishing
trip that day.
Station Wachapreague launched a 25-foot rescue boat to search the area
where the vessel operator said he would be fishing and suspected transit
channels of the vessel. Within 30 minutes the rescue effort was
joined by a rescue boat from the Virginia Marine Police, and at 11:36
p.m., a Coast Guard rescue helicopter from Elizabeth City, N.C., also
launched to assist.
Shortly after midnight, the Virginia Marine Police rescue boat located
the overdue vessel and two people, Lemuel Hart and William Merritt,
abord. They did not request medical attention and Virginia Marine
Police towed the vessel back to Quinby.
Hart, the owner and operator of the vessel, said his engine became
disabled on his way back to port. He anchored his vessel and
launched numerous flares without any results. His anchor line then
parted and his vessel drifted into a marsh where he attempted to light
fires with the gas from his fuel can. He was finally able to start
a fire with the last of his fuel, which was seen by rescue units.
Rescue crews were able to search in correct areas due to the information
the reporting source, Rudolph Powell, provided to the Coast Guard.
This is another reason why boaters should always file a float plan,
telling someone where they are going and when they will return.
Hart did not have a radio or cellular phone onboard his vessel to notify
anyone of his situation. Having a radio on his vessel may have
reduced the amount of time he had to wait before being rescued.
The Coast Guard credits the float plan, the alert reporting source, and
the resourcefulness of the vessel operator in the success of this case.