State Police helicopters locate, rescue stranded boaters

CRISFIELD — On Sunday, Nov. 2 at 7:35 p.m., Trooper 4 the Maryland State Police helicopter based in Salisbury and Trooper 3, the MSP helicopter based in Frederick, were dispatched to perform an over water search for five persons who became stranded on a small island southwest of Crisfield in the Chesapeake Bay.

The stranded persons were traveling on a 22 foot boat that became disabled due to a fuel system issue. Strong winds blew the vessel onto the beach of a small island.  The victims were able to call for assistance using a cellular telephone. Due to the strong winds and shallow water, rescue boats were unable to reach the stranded persons.

The crew of Trooper 4 located the victims, while the crew of Trooper 3 prepared for hoist operations. Two crew members onboard Trooper 3 were lowered to the shore line near the vessel to assess the boaters and facilitate the hoist operation using a rescue basket.  Five adults and one large dog were then hoisted to safety using the rescue basket onboard the AW-139 aircraft and transported to the Crisfield Airport. The hoist operation was complete at about 9:45 pm.  None of the persons rescued required medical attention. Wind chills at the time of the incident were 37 degrees and were expected to drop during the nighttime hours, creating a hazardous situation for the stranded boaters.

The Maryland State Police Aviation Command has served Maryland citizens since 1970. Aviation Command missions include medevac, law enforcement, search & rescue, homeland security, and disaster assessment. The success of rescues performed by the Aviation Command depends a great deal on the cooperative effort of local fire, rescue, EMS, and law enforcement agencies.

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