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USCG drops flare to aid Costa Rica rescue

North Carolina image

A U.S. Coast Guard aircrew conducting drugs patrols saved four men in distress off the coast of Central America after firing a flare.

The Coast Guard HC-130 aircrew based in North Carolina responded to boaters in distress as 12-foot waves crashed over their capsized boat off Costa Rica.

The crew was supporting the Joint Interagency Task Force South operations near Central America.

The rescue took place after Air Station Elizabeth City HC-130 Hercules airplane crew saw four people waving frantically for help in a 25-foot recreational boat.

The aircrew dropped a radio to establish communication and prepared to drop dewatering pumps when members saw the boat capsize during rain and lightning.

Winds gusted to about 30 knots, the rain limited visibility and cloud cover was low, but the crew was then able to drop an eight-man life raft to the water near the boat. However, surface winds pulled it away before the boat crew could get to it.

The aircrew dropped its last set of life rafts as the sun began to set. They also set off a flare to illuminate the area to aid the rescue by a good Samaritan craft that was able to rescue all four men.

The image is courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard District 5. It shows the Grady White-type boat with four people aboard, who wave frantically at a U.S. Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane off the coast of Costa Rica.

Nov 08, 2018