U.S. Coast Guard Rescues Ailing Man Near Nassawadox Creek

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A Coast Guard helicopter. Photo by Phyllis Ward.

Story by Stefanie Jackson, Photos by Phyllis Ward – The U.S. Coast Guard and Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) partnered Saturday, June 29, to rescue an ailing 44-year-old man struggling to anchor his vessel in the Chesapeake Bay near Nassawadox Creek in Jamesville.

The man, who was aboard the sailboat Thumper, called the Coast Guard at about 8 a.m. to alert them of his situation. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads received the call.

A medium-crew response boat from Station Milford Haven in Hudgins, Va., and a Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., were dispatched to the scene. VMRC assisted.

The helicopter crew lowered its rescue swimmer into the water, who retrieved the man and transferred him to the VMRC vessel.

VMRC crew took the man to the Coast Guard vessel, which was used as a platform for the Jayhawk crew to hoist the man up to the helicopter.

The man was taken to Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital in Onancock.

Jerry Besecker, operations unit controller with the Sector Hampton Roads command center, said, “The shallowness of the water created a challenging environment for our boat crew, but working with the VMRC enabled us to help this mariner quickly and efficiently.

“Our local partnerships are invaluable for this reason: Through teamwork, we can help more people.”

The Coast Guard vessel (right) approaches the sailboat.
Following the rescue, the sailboat is towed.