NEW YORK-Two people were rescued from a life raft after their sportfishing vessel sank approximately nine miles off the coast of Moriches, N.Y., at about 5:45 p.m., today.
Greg Mastonardi, owner of the 33-foot Topaz sportfishing boat First Light, was transiting between Egg Harbor Inlet N.J., to Shinne**** Inlet, N.Y., with passenger Mark Edwards, when he called Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound to notify them his boat was taking on water and his dewatering pumps were having a difficult time keeping up. The Coast Guard instructed Edwards and the other passenger to put on their life jackets.
?We launched a 47-foot motor life boat from Coast Guard Station Shinne****, a 27-foot rescue boat from Station Moriches, and a HH-60 rescue helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod immediately,? said Peter Winters, a civilian search and rescue controller at Sector Long Island Sound.
Nine minutes later, Mastonardi notified search and rescue controllers at Sector Long Island Sound that water was overtaking the vessel and he was going to have to abandon ship.
?We asked them to activate their Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) right before we lost communications with them,? said Winters. ?Seatow overheard Mastonardi call to Sector Long Island Sound and told us they were nearby. We passed their position to Seatow and they headed towards the location.?
Seatow arrived at 6:03 p.m. where they pulled Mastonardi and Edwards from their life raft to safety. The First Light sank in 108-feet of water.
The 27-foot rescue boat is currently escorting the Seatow vessel back to Coast Guard Sector Field Office Moriches to safely bring Mastonardi and Edwards.
The First Light was carrying 250 gallons of diesel fuel, though no pollution was reported on scene.
Winters attributes the timely success of this rescue to the alert mariners aboard Seatow, and the Coast Guard Rescue 21 system, which is composed of two, 400-foot towers at Station Shinne**** and Coast Guard Station Montauk that are able to assist in cases just like this.
?We managed to get a latitude and longitude from them,? said Winters. ?After we lost communications with them we used Rescue 21 to create a fix on where they would be. It was right on the money.?