Rescue and recovery tales from around the country and beyond. In this edition, two fishermen escape a burning boat in Alaska, two crew members are stabbed aboard a Florida boat, and the Coast Guard helps medevac fishermen in two regions who are suffering chest pains.

Gulf & South Atlantic

On Aug. 20, two men were lifted from the deck of F/V Billy B about 40 miles south of Pensacola, Fla., after they were reportedly stabbed by another crew member.

Coast Guard Sector Mobile received the distress call and dispatched the coastal patrol cutter Kingfisher, a rescue boat and a helicopter to respond.

The victims were transferred to the cutter at around 10:45 p.m. before being medevaced to a hospital in Pensacola. One man was listed in critical condition upon arrival. There have been no updates on the victim’s condition since.

The suspected stabber was arrested after the boat was towed to Orange Beach.


Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a report at 5 a.m. that a 42-foot trawling vessel with one person aboard was on fire west of Grand Isle, Fla.

A fishermen was rescued about 25 miles west of Grand Isle, La., on Aug. 23. after his 42-foot trawler caught fire.

Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a report that the boat was on fire with one man aboard at 5 a.m. Officials launched a 24-foot shallow-water boat crew to assist.

The crew arrived at 6:47 a.m. and found the fisherman in the water. He was recovered and was in stable condition.



West Coast & Alaska

On Aug. 5, Coast Guard officials rescued two fishermen after the 27-foot Beverly B was engulfed in flames about 20 miles off Cape Blanco, just south of Coos Bay, Ore.

A volunteer lighthouse keeper spotted the boat on fire off Cape Blanco and alerted Coast Guard officials.

Luckily the fishermen were able to abandon the boat and escape on a life raft.

A volunteer light keeper at Cape Blanco Lighthouse saw that the boat was on fire and notified the Coast Guard.

A helicopter crew was dispatched from Sector North Bend, and they lowered a recue swimmer to assess the situation. A 47-foot motor life boat from Coast Guard Station Chetco River met the fishermen soon after and transported them and their raft to port in Brookings.

“You never know when a situation could go bad, much like the case here,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Halasz, an operations specialist at Sector North Bend. “Luckily these fishermen had proper and working safety equipment, which contributed to their lives being saved.”

Weather at the time of the rescue was reported as 5-mph winds and 2-foot seas.


On Aug. 29, a Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak helicopter crew, forward deployed on the Coast Guard Cutter Sherman, medevaced a 26-year-old woman from the fishing vessel Seattle Enterprise 140 miles northwest of Unalaska, Alaska.

The woman was experiencing serious chest pains. According to Coast Guard officials, 17th District Command Center watch standers received a request from Health Force Partners in Seattle about the woman. That’s when a Coast Guard flight surgeon recommended a medevac.

“Having a helicopter and crew aboard the Sherman allowed a quick response time in a remote area,” said Lt. j.g. Maren Murphy, a 17th District command duty officer. “Our aviation detachment crews train for this and were able to quickly get the woman to advanced medical care.”

Weather at the time of the hoist was rain, 20-mph winds and 6-foot seas.



A 30-year-old fisherman was medevaced from F/V Patricia Lynn 6 miles off Hampton Harbor, N.H., on Aug. 25 after experiencing symptoms characteristic of a heart attack.

A crewmember radioed the Coast Guard for assistance and a Coast Guard Station Merrimack River 29-foot rescue boat crew working nearby diverted to assist.

The man was taken to Hampton Harbor State Pier, where emergency medical services personnel were waiting. The fisherman was reportedly stable when he was transferred.

Samuel Hill is the former associate editor for National Fisherman. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine where he got his start in journalism at the campus’ newspaper, the Free Press. He has also written for the Bangor Daily News, the Outline, Motherboard and other publications about technology and culture.

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