Sussex County Fishing Vessel Assists in Sailboat Rescue - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Sussex County Fishing Vessel Assists in Sailboat Rescue

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LEWES, Del.- It started out as a fishing trip, then turned into a rescue, in the waters off the coast of Lewes. It was about 3 p.m. Tuesday when a sailboat was in distress, and a fishing vessel just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

“That gives you an idea of how close he was to the rocks,” explained Capt. Brian Wazlavek of the Lil’ Angler II, while showing WBOC video of Tuesday’s rescue effort.

“The Delaware Bay can go from flat calm to treacherous in no time at all,” he said.

Capt. Brian was about ten minutes into a fishing charter when the distress call was radioed in to the Coast Guard from a 48-foot sailboat nearby.

“They couldn't start their engine,” he said. “They were anchored close to the inlet and the jetty, and their anchor wasn't holding them. They were drifting back into the jetty.”

And so, the fishing trip was put on hold.

“We were going to tow them out to deeper water, and we got the tow line, we got up alongside of them, and we couldn't move the boat, basically. We didn't have the capacity to move the boat and we put a lot of strain on the tow line” Capt. Brian explained.

“We started getting blown,” he noted. “We got caught by the wind and the current and started going sideways.”

They had no choice but to cut the line.

“We were at the upper end of what we could do, and it just wasn't worth the risk to my passengers or my mate or my boat,” said Capt. Brian.

The man behind the camera, filming it all, was Salisbury University film student Tyler Freeman.

“The waves out there were unbelievable,” Freeman recalled. “I was just trying to hold on for dear life while looking through the camera lens, trying not to fall in.”

The Lil' Angler II stood by as the Coast Guard took over the rescue mission.

“They were able to get the tow line to them, and then they towed them to wherever and we went fishing,” said Capt. Brian.

The Coast Guard was able to tow the sailboat to safety with no damage or injuries reported.

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