Two crew members of a tanker were injured Wednesday after falling overboard when a lifeboat unexpectedly released off the coast of Virginia.
The U.S. Coast Guard says aircrews recovered the men from the water and flew them to a hospital in Norfolk due to injuries that included a stomach laceration and broken leg.
According to the Coast Guard, the two engineers were working on an enclosed lifeboat on board the tanker Chemtrans Nova when the lifeboat released and both men went over with it while approximately 70 miles east of Chincoteague, Virginia.
The crew of the tanker contacted Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads watchstanders to request assistance.
The Coast Guard Cutter Reliance was on patrol about 20 miles away and diverted to help. Their small boat crew arrived and recovered one person off the lifeboat and the other in the water.
A U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon airplane crew also assisted by providing communication relay support. An Air Station Elizabeth City MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter was launched to medevac the men.
The men were taken to Norfolk Sentara General Hospital for additional care.
“The Navy was very helpful. After they overheard the broadcast, they helped locate the men in the water and stayed on scene until the nearby Coast Guard cutter arrived,” said Chief Petty Officer Josh French, a search and rescue coordinator at Sector Hampton Roads. “It was definitely a collaborative effort to rescue them. They were fortunate things fell in place, with everyone being close by.”