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New boat helps in search and rescue

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POSTED: May 10, 2008 5:00 a.m.
A new investment for the Eastern District Volunteer Fire Department is already paying out dividends, according to Chief Joseph Martin.
Martin said the department acquired a 26' AMBAR fire rescue boat as surplus from the Coast Guard the first part of this year.  Last Saturday it performed its first solo rescue mission for the department.
"We received the call around 1400 hours Saturday from the 911 center saying there was a family that had gone out fishing when their boat started to take on water, " the chief said. "They were sinking."
The chief, Andrew Martin, Nicholas Martin and Robby Parrish pulled the boat from the station to the boat ramp at nearby Sunbury and went out to look for the family. They spotted them on St. Catherine's Sound near Ossabaw Island.
"We had five adults, two children and a dog on a family outing that went bad," Martin said. "The boat was down on its right side by the time we got there. It was taking on quite a bit of water. It appears that the family was able to call in for help but it was unclear whether they used a cell phone or marine radio."
Martin could not provide the name of the family, but said all were doing fine.
"The family was cold and wet but otherwise fine and the dog was calm throughout the ordeal," Martin said. "They were just out fishing when their boat started taken in water. The reason is still unknown."
Martin said the important thing was that the department just put the boat in service.
"The boat was acquired at no cost from the Coast Guard. The department paid for transporting it back to Eastern District. The squad then put in several man-hours doing repairs and spent $4,000-6,000 to update equipment and the engine. We've done three searches to assist other agencies but this was the first time we rescued a family with it."
Martin and the rest of the Eastern District volunteers believe the investment was worth it.
"There's no price on being able to save a family," the Chief said.
 

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