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A Trusted Friend*

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.

Safety is simple when you have a plan™
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