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Coast Guard boat off Rockaway Park flips, officials say

Seven fishermen were safe after being rescued from their stranded scallop boat off the Rockaways, and five U.S. Coast Guard crew members who had gone to save them also were safe after being tossed into frigid waters of the Atlantic when their 25-foot rescue boat capsized in roiling, storm-charged surf. The Coast Guard said the five crew members swam ashore after the capsize early Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016. (Credit: News 12 Long Island)

A Jones Beach Coast Guard boat sent to rescue fishermen run aground early yesterday off the Rockaways capsized in storm-charged surf, flinging the five-member crew into the frigid Atlantic before all safely swam to shore, officials said.

A Coast Guard HH-65 helicopter dispatched from Air Station Atlantic City airlifted the seven fishermen from their 76-foot commercial scallop boat, the Carolina Queen III, and ferried them to land.

The fishermen on the boat, owned by a Seaford, Virginia-based company, were transported to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center for observation, said officials with the FDNY. A hospital spokeswoman said all were “stable.”

The five crew members aboard the 25-foot Coast Guard rescue boat were examined on shore and none sustained any injuries.

Authorities had set up a command post at Silver Point Park, in Atlantic Beach, bordering the East Rockaway Inlet.

The names of the fishermen and the Coast Guard boat crew were not released and calls to Seaford Scallop, the vessel’s owners, were not immediately returned.

Coast Guard officials said the initial distress call from the Carolina Queen III reported it was taking on water after it ran aground at about 2 a.m. in the middle of a strong storm off Beach 56th Place in Arverne, Queens, west of the East Rockaway Inlet.

The Coast Guard then dispatched the rescue crew from Station Jones Beach but their boat capsized before they could reach the stranded fishermen.

Officials with the FDNY and NYPD said they received 911 calls reporting the Coast Guard crew in the Atlantic at 4:42 a.m

When the boat flipped over — not far from where the fishing vessel ran aground — it was battling waves between 10 and 12 feet, Coast Guard officials said.

Later yesterday, salvage plans were underway to remove the fishing vessel and Coast Guard boat, official said.

With Chau Lam

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