Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Four divers rescued after going missing 46 miles off coast

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Four divers were rescued off the coast of North Carolina after going missing for 12 hours, the US Coast Guard said.

The military began a frantic search for the divers after a pleasure craft, named Big Bill’s, reported four of its divers failed to resurface. The boat was located roughly 63 miles off the coast of Cape Fear, North Carolina.

The victims were identified by the Coast Guard as Ben Wiggins, 64, Luke Lodge, 26, Daniel Williams, 46, Evan Williams, 16.

The Coast Guard deployed three aircraft and two 87-foot patrol boats to the area to search for the divers.

They were finally spotted by a Coast Guard helicopter around 12.45am on Monday morning, about 46 miles from the North Carolina coastline. They caught the helicopter’s attention by using an SOS strobe light.

The search-and-rescue helicopter coordinated with a US Navy destroyer, the USS Porter, which was nearby conducting a training exercise, to pick up the stranded men.

A 47-foot motor lifeboat out of Oak Island, North Carolina then picked up the divers and returned them back to the mainland by 6.10am the same morning.

Miraculously, none of the divers reported any injuries after returning to shore.

The Coast Guard later shared photos of the four divers reuniting with their families back on dry land Station Oak Island.

‘Any time the Coast Guard launches for a search and rescue case, it is always our hope and goal to be able to reunite those we are searching for with their friends and families,’ said Captain Timothy List, commander of the Coast Guard sector in North Carolina.

‘In this case that is exactly what took place, which is always a great feeling for our rescue crews,’ he said.

Earlier this year, Coast Guard search-and-rescue teams combed an area of the Atlantic 13 times the size of London while searching survivors of a private submersible that took tourists to see the sunken remains of the Titanic.

The passengers on the sub were never found, but they searchers did discover a ‘debris field’ believed to be the remains of the craft.

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