Beaufort firefighters help rescue stranded boaters

BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) - Firefighters always have to be ready at a moment's notice.

"It's the nature of the job, you never know what you're going to find on a call," said Steven Baske, Beaufort Fire Inspector.

While they constantly prepare for any emergency, Beaufort Fire Captain Scott Robinson and Fire Inspector Baske never imagined they'd have a rescue like they did this weekend. It all happened when a couple visiting from out of town got stranded in the Brickyard Creek, off of the Beaufort River in the Pigeon Point neighborhood, while they were shrimping.

"It was 1:30 at night," said Baske. "The boat had completely sunk. It had taken in water some how. They were in chest deep water."

"They had no safety vests, minimal equipment and one of the boaters couldn't swim," said Robinson.

With the current picking up, the two quickly sprung into action, using a rescue disk to help them save the boaters.

"It took several attempts to get that rescue disk to them because the wind and tide were opposing. It took a few times but we got it over to them," said Baske.

With help from Beaufort Police, they started the rescue.

"When they pulled over the larger rope, we instructed the female of the crew to put the rescue harness around her torso and then on the count of three we would pull her in. We pulled her in without incident and got her on the dock, where we handed her over to EMS," said Baske.

But the two say the second rescue posed some real challenges.

"Somehow the boater became tangled and attached to the boat," said Robinson. "When his weight was lifted off the boat, the boat was able to shift and the tide moved the boat. It created a situation where they boater was being pulled under by the boat and we were trying to hold him up with the safety harness. Myself and the police officer tried to keep him up but it was a situation where he was either going to dislocate his shoulder or be pulled under the water."

That's when Baske decided to jump in and rescue the man.

"I cut the rope to free him and the boat went free. Soon after we cut him free, he was able to be pulled safely onto the dock," said Baske.

It's a rescue, these two firefighters say they'll never forget. They are both just thankful the outcome was positive.

Copyright 2011 WTOC. All rights reserved.