Coast Guard Rescues 4 Near Shackleford Despite Raging Weather

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    A still from a video of the rescue of four fishermen from the F/V Tamara Alane in the early morning hours of Feb. 7. (US Coast Guard)

    The Coast Guard rescued four men after their 78-foot fishing vessel ran aground near Shackleford Banks in the midst of a strong system of storms early Friday morning.

    Coast Guard watchstanders received a radio distress call at approximately 3:30 am Friday from a crew member aboard the Tamara Alane. The crew member reported that the vessel was experiencing issues with fuel, became disabled, then ran aground and began taking on water. 

    The crew members asked to be removed from the vessel due to harsh weather conditions.

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    An aircrew aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Elizabeth City launched to assist. Once on scene, the aircrew hoisted four crew members and transported them to Michael J. Smith Airport in Beaufort. 

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    According to the Coast Guard, there were no reported injuries or visible signs of pollution.

    The vessel is currently aground on the ocean side of Shackleford. The Coast Guard said it will continue to monitor the vessel and salvage operations.

    “The fishermen did the right thing by calling us as soon as possible,” said Chief Warrant Officer Kristen Auer, command duty officer at the Sector North Carolina command center, which received the distress call.

    “With the deteriorating weather conditions, the situation could have gone from bad to worse.” 

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    Data from MarineTraffic.com indicates that the 25-year-old fishing vessel arrived at Morehead City Anchorage, which is south of Shackleford and west of the cape, Thursday night around 8 pm then departed around 1:30 am Friday.

    At 2 am Friday, Cape Lookout Weather Station measured a wind gust of 42 knots, or about 48 mph. Air temperatures were in the mid-60s.

    At 3 am, half an hour before the distress call came in, the weather station measured a gust of 32 kts, or about 37 mph, and sustained winds at 27 kts, or about 31 mph.

    The location of the Tamara Alane at 5 pm Friday, according to data from MarineTraffic.com. (MarineTraffic.com)

    Station observations show the wind calmed down over the next two hours — it measured a 16 kt gust at 4 am and a 17 kt gust at 5 am — then picked back up.

    At 4 pm Friday, the Cape Lookout station was still recording wind gusts of 31 kts.