Local News

Life-boat rescue among Coast Guard's top 10 videos

Posted December 24, 2008 1:05 p.m. EST

— The Coast Guard named an North Carolina-based unit's rescue of four people from a life raft as one of the military branch's top 10 operational videos of the year.

"These videos are just a few of the shining examples that showcase our shipmates standing watch," Adm. Thad W. Allen, commandant of the Coast Guard, said.

Early Dec. 12, crew members asked the Coast Guard for help after their 50-foot sailboat Kekoa lost its mast and began to sink. Coast guard airmen set off in a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and HC-130 Hercules aircraft from the Elizabeth City air station.

They found the boat's four occupants in a life raft at sea, 172 miles east of Wilmington. Crews hoisted the people on board and flew them to shore.

The crew of the Forward, based in Portsmouth, Va., also made the list for seizing 1,600 pounds of cocaine and arresting seven suspected drug smugglers from a Honduran fishing vessel in the western Caribbean Sea.

"This has truly been a historic year for the Coast Guard and its guardians," Allen said. "Through their relentless vigilance, they have kept our nation safe and secured our national, economic and environmental interests – both at home and abroad – just as their predecessors have done for the last 218 years."

Overall, the Coast Guard seized a record 367,926.1 pounds of cocaine and saved 4,670 lives during fiscal year 2008.

Other operational highlights for the Coast Guard during the past year include:

  • restoring critical ports and waterways in the wake of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. More than 1,200 aids to navigation discrepancies were caused by the hurricanes
  • Great Lakes ice-breaking operations, including 680 ice transits to enable the transit of more than $2 billion of U.S. cargo
  • supporting national science and research, with the Coast Guard Cuter Healy's crew mapping the extended outer-continental shelf along the Arctic Ocean floor
  • intercepting more than 4,800 migrants attempting to illegally enter the United States from the sea
  • delivering 76,000 pounds of humanitarian relief supplies to the Republic of Georgia during Operation Assured Delivery