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Old 03-01-2007, 19:18   #1
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Post Ever involved in a SAR?

What's your personal story about a Search & Rescue?

In my 26 yr career with the Coast Guard, 12 years at sea, there were many rescues and a lot of recoveries. One of the most memorable was on a Christmas day evening off of Port Colborne on Lake Erie. We were anchored in a sheltered bay near Nanticoke when the call came in about 20:00 hrs for a missing pilot type boat out of Port Colborne. The weather was absolutely horrible with a blizzard, 40-50 knot winds and probably 20' seas, which is pretty rough for Erie. After probably an hour or so run and another hour searching we eventually located the boat about a mile from the Port Colborne fairway buoy, blacked out, stern to the waves and taking on water. Two persons aboard the boat trying to bail, no PFD's, no exposure suits, nadda. We managed to get a 1 1/2" Sampson braid on her to get her alongside and get the guys off. Just as soon as they stepped on deck we got hit with a couple of good waves broadside which turned the pilot boat turtle. Dangling from the 1 1/2" line by the nose the Bosun cuts the line with an axe. The small boat, probably 45' steel hull, slipped under the waves and disappeard in the darkness. We got the two very cold and wet guys in the mess room (obviously drunk) and gave them warm blankets and coffee as we headed back into Port Colborne. The entire time all they could do was bitch about loosing their boat to the A/hole of a skipper of our ship of incompetent crew and the fool who cut the tow line! Yeah ok. Anyhow, 2 months later we get hit with a law suit from these morons for the loss of the boat, which eventually came ashore near Buffalo about the same time. During the discovery portion of the suit it was determined that their fuel lines froze causing the loss of all power. They had no compass, no VHF, no PFD's or extreme weather gear and no flares. They were obviously trusting their safety to God alone. Long story short they weren't successful in their suit. I forgot to mention that during the rescue and manoeuvers to get alongside the boat a large cutting block broke loose in the galley and crushed my cooks left hand resulting in an amputation of his ring finger. The Xmas tree broke loose in the mess and pinned the ships cat to the bulkhead resulting in 20 stitches & $300 Vet bill. A large steel plate broke loose in the cargo hold and pinned the 2nd engineer to the deck breaking his femur. All in all a small price to pay for saving two idiots lives eh?
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Old 03-01-2007, 20:31   #2
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The Canadian Coast Guard Fight Darwin with all it's might
Coincidentally, I just posted this link on another thread, but here is a bit of a story about some SAR accounts
BBC NEWS | UK | England | Devon | Rescued sailor 'risk to himself'
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Old 03-01-2007, 21:24   #3
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Yes, but too many ended badly. We used to tail aircraft carriers to pick up pilots if they happened to have to ditch on approach. On one patrol in the South China Sea we picked up 3 boat loads of Vietname refugees trying to escape the communist regime.
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Old 04-01-2007, 00:02   #4
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I had a bit of experience with SAR during my commercial fishing days but they were all fairly mundane with no drama attached. My weirdest case of offering assistance at sea was being hailed by a passing yacht while we were fishing 30 miles off the west coast of NZ. The yacht in question had sailed from Australia and expected to make landfall at Nelson but their satnav had gone down and weren't sure of their position and were worried they had gone too far. They could see land and their question was "is that the west coast or the east coast?" It was late afternoon and the sun was shining beautifully on the Southern Alps so I asked them if the sun rose & set in different places in Oz. They soon got the message. Their DR since the satnav hd gone down was actually very good and they didn't have to alter course much to make their expected landfall.
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