Ridge Volunteer Fire Department

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Water Rescue Off of Point Lookout
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By Firefighter / EMT-B David Morris
April 10, 2012

At 2237, Companies 4 and 49 along with Calvert County Boat 3 (Solomons) were alerted to the Chesapeake Bay for the reported boat in distress. Boat 4 (Capt. Langley), Rescue Engine 42 (FF/EMT Gatton), Boat 3, Ambulance 496 and Chief's 4 (Raley) and 4B (Mercure) all made the response shortly after dispatch.

While responding, units were advised that two occupants were on a sailboat that was stuck on a sandbar just off of Point Lookout. The occupants had launched from Deale and were back en route to their home port in Quantico when they became lodged on the sandbar due to heavy winds at the time. The boat was listing and they were worried it was going to overturn.

With this information, Chief 4 arrived on scene and established the "Point Lookout Command." At this time, command requested Trooper 7 for aerial support, as well as the Coast Guard. Boat 4 launched and made their way to the distressed vessel. As units were underway, Solomons Boat 3 was advised by the Coast Guard to return to port due to weather.

Boat 4 arrived in the area of the boat and determined that the water was too shallow to make an attempt with the boat. Trooper 7 then arrived and assessed the situation for the possibility of a hoist rescue. Trooper 7 requested an additional MSP Helicopter, bringing Trooper 1 and the "HEAT" (High Elevation Aerial Team) team. At this time, Command also requested the Natural Resources Police.

After a further assessment by both pilots, it was determined that the Dauphin aircraft was too light too attempt the rescue with the wind and the mast of the sailboat was too high and too unstable to attempt. At this time, Command requested a Coast Guard helicopter with a SAR team to attempt a rescue. Fireboard advised that a helicopter was started from Elizabeth City, New Jersey. Shortly before the arrival of the Coast Guard helicopter, the duty officer from the Natural Resources Police arrived on scene and began to assess the situation.

With winds diminishing, it was determined that a shallow water rescue could be attempted with a NRP Boston Whaler. Capt. Langley and FF/EMT Wise donned cold water rescue suits and ventured to the stranded boat with NRP. At this time, the Coast Guard helicopter was overhead and provided lighting for the rescue crews. A successful attempt was made and both occupants of the boat were recovered without incident. They were transported to shore where they were assessed by EMS crews and provided heat until the arrival of family members. All units were in quarters by 0335

Units: Rescue Engine 42, Engine 43, MSU-4, Boat 4, Command 4
Mutual Aid: Ambulance 496, Troopers 7 & 1, Solomons Boat 83 (Canx), USCG St. Inigoes, USCG Elizabeth City, NJ, NRP.
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Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, Inc.
13820 Point Lookout Road
P.O. Box 520
Ridge, MD 20680
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Non-Emergency: 301-872-5571
E-mail: info@ridgevfd.org
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