Responders assist boaters

Published 12:40 am Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Coast Guard, Ponzer Volunteer Fire and Rescue and Bath Volunteer Fire Department assisted two boaters after receiving a report that a fire had broken out aboard their 65-foot-long yacht while in the Pungo River near Belhaven on Sunday.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector North Carolina command center received a call on VHM-FM via Rescue 21 at approximately 2 p.m. from a crewmember aboard the motor yacht Echelon stating that there was a fire in the engine room.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City and a crew from Coast Guard Station Hobucken, aboard a 25-foot-long response boat, responded.

The Jayhawk’s rescue swimmer was lowered and swam to the anchored yacht and assisted both boaters from the yacht to the nearby vessel Janie B.

The two boaters were then transferred from the Janie B to the response boat and then to shore.

The fire was out when members from the Ponzer and Bath departments arrived on scene and shut off the fuel supply to the engine room.

The boat’s owner hired a company to tow the yacht to shore.