Diving vessel sinking near Cape Fear; 16 people need rescue

The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(PORTSMOUTH, VA.) — Coast Guard Sector North Carolina is responding to a sinking 47- foot diving vessel, with 16 people onboard, near the of mouth of the Cape Fear River this afternoon.

Watch standers at Coast Guard Sector North Carolina were notified at 1:55 p.m., by the crew of the AQUATIC SAFARIS I, a 48-foot diving vessel home ported in Wilmington, N.C., reporting that they were taking on water 22 miles south east of the mouth of the Cape Fear River and needed assistance.

The Coast Guard rescue crews onboard a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat from Coast Guard Station Wrightsville Beach, N.C., and a 25-foot search and rescue boat from Coast Guard Station Oak Island, N.C. were dispatched to the scene.

The crew from a nearby vessel, the ANDIAMO, a 74-foot fishing vessel, heard the call for distress and also headed to the scene. Upon arriving, the ANDIAMO removed the 13 passengers from the vessel, and is transporting them to the Bridge Tender Marina, in Wrightsville Beach.

The 25-foot Coast Guard boat crew is currently on scene and is assisting the three person crew of the AQUATIC SAFARI  I as they attempt to dewater the vessel.

By Professional Mariner Staff