Coast Guard rescues overboard lobsterman

Fisherman rescued after 12 hours at sea
John Aldridge breathes a sigh of relief after being rescued off the coast of Montauk, N.Y., July 24, 2013. A rescue crew from Air station Cape Cod pulled Aldridge from the water after an extensive search. USCG photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ross Ruddell

Air Station Cape Cod crews to the rescue

Lobsterman used his rubber boots as flotation devices throughout his  ordeal

U.S. Coast Guard crews from across the Northeast worked together to rescue a commercial lobsterman who fell overboard off Long Island, N.Y., Wednesday.

He was found 43 miles south of Montauk by an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Cape Cod, according to the Coast Guard.

John Aldridge, a crewmember of the 44-foot lobster vessel Anna Mary was last seen aboard the boat during his watch relief at 9 p.m., Tuesday, while the vessel was underway off Montauk, N.Y.

Coast Guard watchstanders received a report of the missing fisherman from the crew of the Anna Mary at approximately 6:30 a.m., Wednesday. Rescue crews from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York coordinated to develop and conduct a search pattern that covered more than 780 square miles (more than half the size of the state of Rhode Island).

Crews established the search area based on the assumption Aldridge has fallen overboard without a lifejacket sometime after 9 p.m., Tuesday, but before 4:30 a.m., Wednesday. Eight hours after the initial report, an Air Station Cape Cod MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter located Aldridge 36 nautical miles south of Montauk, N.Y. The air crew deployed a rescue swimmer who hoisted Aldridge to safety.

"This ending had a lot of people shaking hands and smiling," said Lt. Joe Klinker, First Coast Guard District public affairs officer. "Reports of persons in the water often mean a difficult search is ahead. To hear the call that he was found and rescued makes it a proud day for those Coast Guard crews."

Aldridge told the helicopter crew he used his rubber boots as flotation devices throughout the ordeal.

Search crews included:

- Coast Guard Station Montauk, N.Y.
- Coast Guard Cutter Sailfish from Sandy Hook, N.J.
- Coast Guard Cutter Tiger Shark from Newport, R.I.
- Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, Mass. (HC-144 and MH-60)
- Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound Command Center in New Haven, Conn.
- First Coast Guard District Command Center in Boston, Mass.
- Commercial fishing vessels and Good Samaritans

On standby to assist were Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England and the 106th Rescue Wing of the Air National Guard in New York.

PHOTOS OF SEARCH EFFORT IN MONTAUK, N.Y.

PHOTOS OF RETURN TO AIR STATION CAPE COD

► See previous USCG stories here.


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