MOBILE, Ala. — The Coast Guard rescued a man who was stranded on Horn Island, Miss., Thursday, Sept. 10, 2009.
A watchstander at Coast Guard Station Gulfport, Miss., received a call at 12:20 a.m. from Melissa Cumberland stating her husband, Thomas Cumberland, had gone fishing in an 18-foot boat and had not returned to the Popps Ferry Bridge boat launch in Back Bay Biloxi.
Coast Guard Sector Mobile launched an MH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter and crew from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans and rescue crews and boats from Coast Guard Stations Pascagoula, Miss. and Gulfport to search for Cumberland and his boat.
At approximately 3 a.m., the crew of the MH-65C spotted a signal fire Cumberland had started.
“The fire Cumberland started helped us find him. As soon as we got into the search area we saw a flickering light through the night vision goggles about three to five miles away,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Caleb Flippin, an aviation survival technician stationed at Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans.
Cumberland was taken to Gulfport International Airport where he was met by his wife.
The Coast Guard would like to remind boaters that having and using emergency signaling devices such as flares, signaling mirrors, sound producing devices and registered 406mhz emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs) can help rescuers quickly spot and rescue boaters in distress.