Tanker Crew Members Rescued Offshore

OCEAN CITY — Two sailors were rescued by the Coast Guard far off the mid-Atlantic coast on Wednesday after falling off a passing tanker about 70 miles east of Chincoteague.

The two men, crewmembers on the tanker Chemtrans Nova about 70 miles east of Chincoteague, were working on an enclosed lifeboat on board when the lifeboat released and took them over the side with it into the frigid water below. Crewmembers on the tanker observed the incident and immediately contacted Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads to request assistance.

The 210-foot Coast Guard Cutter Reliance was on patrol about 20 miles away from the incident and diverted to help. The cutter released a small boat crew which arrived on the scene and recovered one of the injured men from the lifeboat and the other one from the water. Their injuries included a stomach laceration and a broken leg.

A U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon airplane crew assisted during the incident by providing communication relay support over the long distance between the various Coast Guard units responding. A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter was launched to medevac the men, who were transported to a hospital for additional care.

“The Navy was very helpful,” said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Josh French, a search and rescue coordinator. “After the overheard the broadcast, they helped locate the men in the water and stayed on scene until the nearby Coast Guard cutter arrived. It was definitely a collaborative effort to rescue them. They were fortunate things fell into place with everyone being close by.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.