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Coast Guard rescues two humans and a feline from sinking houseboat

A boat from Coast Guard Station Elizabeth City, N.C., approaches a sinking houseboat on the Scuppernong River in Albemarle Sound, off North Carolina, June 13, 2020. Two people were hoisted from the vessel and a cat was transported to shore by the Coast Guard crew.

U.S. COAST GUARD

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 15, 2020

Coast Guard helicopter and boat crews combined to rescue two people and their cat from a sinking 50-foot houseboat in North Carolina over the weekend.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and a 29-foot boat launched from Elizabeth City, N.C., on Saturday, after authorities received a 911 call saying that the houseboat was taking on water on the Scuppernong River in Albemarle Sound, the service said in a statement. Elizabeth City is about 50 miles south of Norfolk, Va.

The two people were hoisted to the helicopter and brought to the Northeastern Regional Airport, while the boat crew took the cat aboard, Coast Guard District 5 said. There were no injuries, officials said.

It was the first operational hoist rescue for Lt. Karisa Kealy, one of the chopper pilots, and the first rescue for Petty Officer 2nd Class Martin Andrada, the flight mechanic.

“We’re fortunate that we train for these types of scenarios all of the time,” Kealy said. “Even though it may be different when you are responding to an actual emergency, you have a solid foundation from your training to always fall back on.”

A Coast Guard video showed the two people hoisted separately into the helicopter from the nearly submerged boat. It also captured the moment when rescue boat crew member Petty Officer 3rd Class Victoria Cloin returned the cat to its owner.

“Oh, look at that, he’s got his own little jacket,” the unnamed owner says as Cloin helps the feline into a carrier. “Thank you so much.”

The houseboat’s owner is coordinating with the Coast Guard to salvage the craft, the service said.

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A Coast Guard boat crew from Station Elizabeth City pose with a survivor rescued from a sinking houseboat on the Scuppernong River in Albemarle Sound, N.C., June 13, 2020. From left are Petty Officer 2nd Class Aaron Reese, Fireman Christopher McCann, Seaman Michael Bland, Petty Officer 3rd Class Victoria Cloin and one of the survivors.
U.S. COAST GUARD