A helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, NJ, rescued seven people off of the 76-foot scallop fishing vessel Carolina Queen III on Feb. 25, 2016. USCG photo.The New York Times has published a lengthy feature story on the dramatic February rescue of the scalloper Carolina Queen III off the coast of the Rockaways in Queens, NY.

The boat ran aground after dashing inland in an effort to wait out a violent storm. The grounding, it turned out, was only the beginning of the crew's troubles.

Next, a generator failed, and mayday calls were made. After a Coast Guard boat capsized in an effort to reach the vessel and the fire department was stymied by weather, the Coast Guard opted to undertake an airlift operation — no easy feat in the same high winds that had driven the boat to shore in the first place, coupled with waves cresting as high as 14 feet. 

“We knew it was a fishing vessel, and fishing vessels are always tricky,” Lt. Mark Bruno, the Coast Guard aircraft commander whose team was dispatched to respond to the vessel, told the Times.

Watch the rescue

Although the Carolina Queen III was no more than 80 yards from the shore, responders feared that she could capsize in the rough surf. 

“It was definitely a dangerous situation they were in,” Lieutenant Bruno told the Times. “They had lost their generator and were taking on water, and I think that is when they made the decision that they had to come off.”

The full story of how rescuers managed to save the crew — and even the scallops they were carrying — is one worth reading. 

Read more at the New York Times

 

Jessica Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman. She has been covering the fishing industry for 16 years, serves on the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute's Communications Committee and is a National Fisheries Conservation Center board member.

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