“Float Plan” Saves A Life ... - 09/19/2007
“Float Plan”, Lifejacket and Worried Wife Save Ex-Marine Off Paris Island

Coast Guard rescue

“This near tragedy is a great example of how a float plan which tells where you’re going and when you will return and left with a loved one allows us to quickly develop a good search area and expedite a rescue of Mr. Ernest Wright,.” said Coast Guard Lt. Commander Eric King.

“Mrs. Wright knew what kind of boat her husband had, when he departed, when he was supposed to return and what general area he was going to be fishing,” said King, the chief of the Sector Charleston, S.C. Operations Center.

The Coast Guard and the Beaufort Marine Rescue Squadron from Port Royal, S.C., rescued the overdue fisherman on the Broad River between Paris Island, S.C., and Hilton Head, S.C., at about 1:45 a.m on Saturday September 8, 2007.

Ernest Wright, 58, from Beaufort, S.C., left from Archers Creek on Paris Island at about 1 p.m. Friday for a day of fishing. The retired Marine makes the same fishing trip just about every day, returning home at approximately 5 p.m. Wright’s wife became worried when her husband didn’t return Friday evening like he was supposed to and contacted the Military Police at Marine Corps Recruit Depot of Paris Island.

The MPs called the Coast Guard and the Beaufort Marine Rescue Service to assist in the search for the missing fisherman and they launched a rescue helicopter crew from Air Facility of Charleston to assist in the search. Beaufort MRS launched three boats to help search.

The Coast Guard helicopter crew located Wright who was wearing a lifejacket and had remained with his overturned vessel at 1:45 a.m. The aircrew directed a rescue boat from Beaufort MRS to Wright’s position.

“When we spotted Mr. Wright, he was still with his overturned vessel,” said Lt. Jim Boger, a member of the helicopter rescue crew that located Wright. “Any time a person goes in the water they should stay with their boat. A boat is an easier target for an aircrew or surface asset to spot.”

The Beaufort MRS boat crew pulled Wright to safety and transported him back to Archers Creek. Wright did not suffer any injuries.