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Accidents keep Coast Guard busy on holiday weekend

The long Independence Day weekend proved to be a busy one for recreational boaters and first responders across the country.

The Coast Guard closed the Mississippi River above Head of Passes on Saturday in response to a sunken vessel. The Coast Guard's New Orleans office received a report shortly after noon from a nearby passenger vessel that the 48-foot-long tugboat C-Pec had capsized and sunk in the river at mile marker 8 above Head of Passes near Venice, La.

A 29-foot response boat from Venice and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from New Orleans responded to search for the sunken tug. The Army Corps of Engineers sent a boat with sonar equipment to aid in the search and the Plaquemines Parish Port Authority was sending specialized sonar equipment.

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The holiday period also was a busy one for the Coast Guard on the Great Lakes. Crews responded to 37 cases involving maritime incidents on Thursday throughout the region. Crews rescued or assisted two dozen boaters between late Wednesday night and early Friday morning.

"The ability of our rescue crews to quickly transition from one mission to another, their innovative use of resources, along with our great inter-agency partnerships made for a successful and safe Independence Day holiday," Capt. Andrew Sugimoto, chief of response for the Coast Guard 9th District, said in a statement.

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In Texas the Coast Guard, the Port Arthur Fire Department and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department were searching for a 56-year-old man after a collision occurred between the tug and barge Father Seelos and the missing man’s recreational boat about 500 feet west of Goat Island in Sabine Lake on Sunday. Missing is John Tran of Bridge City, Texas.

“We’re utilizing all efforts possible to locate the missing person,” Senior Chief Petty Officer Joshua Tidey, an operations specialist at Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston, said in a statement.

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A 54-year-old woman was medevaced Saturday morning after sustaining back injuries from a fall aboard a 29-foot recreational boat about 15 miles off Galveston, Texas.

The captain of the boat called Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston watchstanders at 8:13 a.m. to report the woman’s condition and seek help. The watchstanders launched a crew aboard a 45-foot response boat.

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An off-duty Coast Guardsman who was boating with his family helped injured boaters Saturday when their 38-foot boat, the Jimmy Crack Corn, ran aground in the Snow’s Cut waterway near Carolina Beach, N.C.

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The Coast Guard rescued six people, including a 2-month-old infant and a 9-year-old boy, from a boat taking on water on the Niagara River about 2 miles south of Niagara Falls late Wednesday night.

About 10:30 p.m. a watchstander at Coast Guard Station Buffalo, N.Y., received a landline phone call from a woman who said she heard a boat hit something in the vicinity of the Mississippi Mud restaurant. The caller believed that her family was aboard. The watchstander lost the connection before gathering further information.

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