Local News

Ocracoke ferry rescues NC couple after sailboat capsizes

Posted September 27, 2013

M/V Cedar Island (Photo courtesy of N.C. Department of Transportation)

— The crew of a state ferry pulled a Black Mountain couple from Pamlico Sound Thursday night after their sailboat capsized, officials said Friday.

John and Renee Hoffman were sailing in Big Foot Slough just off of Ocracoke Island when winds suddenly increased, flipping their boat, authorities said.

“It happened so fast. The boat flipped and we were thrown into the water,” John Hoffman told state Department of Transportation officials.

Capt. Steven Goodwin of the M/V Cedar Island, which was making the 8 p.m. run from Ocracoke to Cedar Island, was able to maneuver the ferry into position to launch its 16-foot rescue boat. Crew members Glenn Salter and Daniel Smith piloted the rescue boat in 4- to 5-foot seas and 30-knot winds to pull the Hoffmans from the water, officials said.

"They risked their lives to get those two people out of the water,” Goodwin said in a statement. “They deserve all the credit. They performed the rescue at night in some of the worst conditions possible.”

The ferry then returned to Ocracoke, where operations staff fed the Hoffmans, gave them dry clothes and provided them a chance to contact family members.

“We are so grateful for everything the ferry crew did for us,” John Hoffman said. “We were very lucky they were so close by and able to get to us. They probably saved our lives.”

After the rescue, the ferry resumed its run to the mainland.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • LL4U Sep 27, 2013

    they are experienced at sailing (many years) so just goes to show that things can change very quickly on the water. mrs hoffman, former press secretary to gov mike easley and prior to that was with the dept of crime control and public safety.

  • tatermommy52 Sep 27, 2013

    Coasties been saving folks for years.

  • davido Sep 27, 2013

    Wow, this is the second ferry-related emergency this month! Sailing is cool, but um.. I think I'll take the ferry instead. Hope they got their sailboat back though.

  • nurse.k Sep 27, 2013

    Nice work, M/V Cedar Island crew! So glad they are okay!

    Can anyone tell what type of sailboat the couple had?

  • donnied19522 Sep 27, 2013

    Awesome story. the guys and gals running those ferrys are so well trained. Hats off to a wonderful ending to what could have been a tragic story.

  • gt_football Sep 27, 2013

    "I hope they are charged for the cost of the rescue."

    Really pal????????????? Wonder what you would say had this been you. No need to answer, we all know. Congrats to M/V Cedar Island crew.

  • rmsmith Sep 27, 2013

    Outstanding ! 5 ft seas in a 16 ft boat is no small matter.

  • stormwaterguy Sep 27, 2013

    I hope the couple were wearing their life jackets. I bet they will after this incident.

  • HANS FOR PRESIDENT!!!!! JK Sep 27, 2013

    Kudos to the captain and crew. Open water is no joke. Glad everyone is okay

  • cpdtg Sep 27, 2013

    what happened to the sailboat that is a narrow channel