Oak Island Water Rescue performs first hovercraft rescue

On Sunday, Oak Island Water Rescue performed its first hovercraft rescue since receiving the craft about a year ago.
Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 6:33 AM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OAK ISLAND, N.C. (WECT) - On Sunday, Oak Island Water Rescue performed its first hovercraft rescue since receiving the craft about a year ago.

The hovercraft was a gift to the rescue team from a generous donor, meaning no taxpayer money was used to buy it. In instances when rescue boats can’t get to kayakers or fishermen stuck in the area’s salt creeks and muddy marshes, the hovercraft can quickly traverse any terrain to get to people in life-or-death situations.

It did exactly that on Sunday. A father and two children got stuck in the mud after they went out kayaking.

Oak Island Water Rescue said tidal marshes and swamps can be great places to kayak, but you need to monitor the tides. When the tide goes out, the water in these areas go out with it and leave behind soft mud that can act like quicksand.

“The more you move and try to get out of it, the worse things get,” Oak Island Water Rescue said in a release.

Two of the three victims ended up sinking chest deep in the mud. Thankfully, some people nearby heard their screams for help and called 911.

Multiple local agencies responded, including the Oak Island Fire Department, Oak Island Police Department, Brunswick County EMS and the United States Coast Guard, but it was Water Rescue’s hovercraft that was able to enter the swampy marsh and rescue the three victims.

“This operation is a perfect example of the excellent interagency coordination that occurs between the many public safety agencies on Oak Island and in Brunswick County,” Oak Island Water Rescue said in its release.

The craft hovers about a foot off the ground thanks to a fan that fills a fabric skirt that just brushes the surface of whatever it’s flying over.

As you can imagine, Oak Island Water Rescue said the hovercraft and crew got muddy in the process, but its a very small price to pay for such a great ending. If the tide had started coming back in while the father and two children were still stuck in the mud — it could have led to an extremely dangerous, potentially deadly situation.

“As for Oak Island Water Rescue, our hovercraft and drone saved three lives today. With a rising tide and two victims chest deep in mud and unable to escape, this was a deadly situation,” the release said. “We are grateful for our donated hovercraft, which saved the day.”

This happened in the marsh in the vicinity of NE 65th St. at Yacht Dr.

Copyright 2022 WECT. All rights reserved.