A Coast Guard boat crew rescued nine people from a disabled vessel Sunday evening, approximately 100 yards east of Judith’s Fancy, St. Croix, according to Coast Guard officials.
The rescued, four men and five women, were reportedly all St. Croix residents, the Coast Guard said.
Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan received a VHF Channel-16 communication from the pleasure craft Katana at 6:04 p.m. Sunday, reporting the vessel had run out of fuel and was drifting toward the reef line, according to the Coast Guard. Watchstanders directed the launch of a 33-Special Purpose Craft from Boat Forces Detachment St. Croix that arrived on the scene and safely removed all the passengers from the vessel.
“Fortunately, the vessel was able to anchor, allowing us to safely transfer all passengers to our boat,” said Petty Officer First Class Richard Belcher, Boat Forces Detachment St. Croix. “Due to the sea state, we had to push the limitations of both vessels while managing the safety of all personnel involved. Our crew adapted to rapidly changing weather conditions and performed at a high level to ensure all passengers were safely removed and transported to shore.”
The vessel operator had planned to return and refuel the vessel in the morning, however, the anchor did not hold and the vessel washed ashore on the rocks, the Coast Guard said. Coast Guard personnel are in communication with the owner of Katana, who is currently working on a plan to remove the vessel.
“This case shows the importance of preparedness anytime you go out on the water and that lifesaving equipment such as lifejackets, float plans, and radios can be a deciding factor in survivability,” said Kenny Tucker, Boat Forces Detachment St. Croix supervisor. “Mariners should keep an eye on the marine weather forecast anytime they go out as conditions change quickly. Small craft advisories are put into effect for the safety of the mariner and should be heeded.”