Six men went into the water Sunday when their boat capsized in rough seas some 16 miles off Virginia Beach. They are all safe thanks to one recently-purchased emergency beacon.
The Coast Guard says they got an alert from a personal locator beacon, and when they got in touch with that person’s emergency contacts, found out he had gone fishing with a group on a 24-foot boat.
Luckily, an MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew from Air Station Elizabeth City was conducting a training mission nearby. The helicopter was diverted to the scene about 16 miles east of Cape Henry along with a Coast Guard boat crew. When rescuers arrived, they found four men on the hull of the overturned fishing boat. Another two had climbed onto the Chesapeake Light Tower, about 14.5 miles off Cape Henry.
The Coast Guard shared video of the men being hoisted into the helicopter, one by one, in big waves. Watch below:
None of the six rescued was injured. The group owes a thank you to the one person on board who had his Personal Locator Beacon. The Coast Guard says he had just bought the device in June.
“This case could have turned out quite different if the owner had not bought and registered his device,” says James Cifers, civilian watchstander at the Fifth District Command Center. “We recommend all mariners maintain updated registration and keep these devices on them while underway so we are able to find them quickly and accurately when they need us the most.”
-Meg Walburn Viviano