Five Coast Guard officers on a rescue mission ended up becoming the ones in distress early Thursday when their vessel capsized off the Rockaways during a massive storm, officials said.
The 25-foot Response Boat Small was buffeted by 10- to 12-foot waves before flipping over in the East Rockaway Inlet about 5 a.m.
The five seamen aboard swam to shore near Beach 19th St., a Coast Guard spokesman said. Their vessel ultimately washed up on a nearby beach.
he seamen were treated at the scene. No injuries were reported.
The Coast Guard vessel had been dispatched to rescue the members of the Carolina Queen III, a 76-foot scallop fishing boat from Virginia.
The boat had been on an eight-day fishing excursion when it lost power and began taking on water about 2 a.m., officials said.
The crew of seven managed to bail out the water but later radioed for help when the boat ran aground near the East Rockaway Inlet.
All seven fisherman were airlifted by U.S. Coast Guard helicopter to shore near Beach 56th Pl. in Arverne unharmed, officials said.
“Nothing about this really was routine,” FDNY Fire Chief George Healy said. “This was a very treacherous operation.”
The waters off the Rockaways were under a gale warning Wednesday night as 34 mile-per-hour winds buffeted the area.
“FDNY had some marine resources coming and because of the conditions, we actually had to turn them back for their safety,” Healy said. “A U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmer went in the water and he couldn’t even handle the conditions.”