Coast Guard Crew Reunited with Va. Beach Boat Crash Victims

Four people suffered serious injuries when this boat dashed against the Little Creek jetty on December 23, 2018. U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Seaman Loren Greenlund

Just in time for Memorial Day, four Coast Guard members out of Virginia Beach were honored for their life-saving actions in a powerboat crash last December— and reunited with some of the grateful victims.

Two days before Christmas last year, a 23-foot boat struck the Little Creek jetty. USCG says, “The four Coast Guardsmen launched a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium and arrived on scene within 17 minutes of the initial call for help. They discovered that all four people aboard the vessel had sustained serious injuries, including internal bleeding, facial trauma, and broken bones.”

It was an especially difficult rescue because of the slippery jetty rocks, the 44-degee water, and the fact that the boat was suspended on the rocks at a 70-degree pitch. The crew, Petty Officer 1st Class Nathan Reynold, a coxswain, Petty Officer 3rd Class Parker Bohannon, a machinery technician, and Seamen Daniel Brennes and Loren Greenlund, boat crew members, used mooring lines to secure the damage boat to the rocks.

Greenlund, a certified EMT, triaged the injured boaters and fastened each to a plastic stretcher to move them off the jetty. The boat’s owner, Robert McCall, was in such bad shape that he had to be resuscitated once he was back on shore.

Petty Officer Reynolds says each crew member had skills that made him well-equipped to handle the medical trauma and the challenging conditions.

“I couldn’t have put together a better crew for this case,” said Reynolds. “Greenlund is the only EMT at the entire station, Brennes was previously a medic in the Marines, and Bohannon is one of the most seasoned boat engineers at the unit.”

 Crash victims Clare Becht and Robert McCall thank the Coast Guard crew that saved their lives. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Corinne Zilnicki
Crash victims Clare Becht and Robert McCall thank the Coast Guard crew that saved their lives. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Corinne Zilnicki

The four USCG boat members received Coast Guard Commendation Medals during a ceremony at Station Little Creek last week. They also got to meet with two of the four crash victims, McCall and boat passenger Clare Becht.

“It’s just unbelievable how it happened and how lucky we were to have those guys,” said McCall.

McCall and Becht thanked the Coast Guard crew for their actions that night.

“I feel very grateful that I had the opportunity to see them and thank them,” Becht said. “It kind of makes you want to cry. I don’t know whether it’s tears of joy or relief.”

-Meg Walburn Viviano