CEDAR ISLAND, NC -The 8 p.m. North Carolina ferry run from Ocracoke to Cedar Island turned into a daring rescue mission Thursday night, as the crew of the M/V Cedar Island pulled two survivors of a sailboat accident from the rough waters of Pamlico Sound.
John and Renee Hoffman of Black Mountain, NC were sailing in Big Foot Slough just off of Ocracoke when winds suddenly increased causing the boat to capsize. "It happened so fast. The boat flipped and we were thrown into the water," said John Hoffman.
Fortunately, the M/V Cedar Island was nearby, and Captain Steven Goodwin was able to maneuver the ferry into position to launch the ferry's 16-foot rescue boat. Crew members Glenn Salter and Daniel Smith piloted the rescue boat in 4-5 foot seas and 30 knot winds. "They risked their lives to get those two people out of the water," said Captain Goodwin. "They deserve all the credit. They performed the rescue at night in some of the worst conditions possible." As the rescue boat returned to the ferry and the crew brought the Hoffmans on board, the 15 passengers already on the ferry erupted into cheers.
The M/V Cedar Island then returned to Ocracoke, where operations staff fed the Hoffmans and gave them dry clothes and a chance to contact family members. "We are so grateful for everything the ferry crew did for us," said John Hoffman. "We were very lucky they were so close by and able to get to us. They probably saved our lives."
After the rescue, the M/V Cedar Island resumed its run to the mainland, delivering its 15 passengers and their vehicles safely to their destination. It will likely be an NC Ferry ride that none of them will ever forget.
Photo of the Exit Strategy, the sailboatowned by John and Renee Hoffman that capsized Thursday night in Pamlico Sound near Ocracoke.The crew of theM/V Cedar Island rescued the Hoffmans from roughseas while on a ferry run between Ocracoke and Cedar Island. Photo provided by John & Renee Hoffman.
File photo of the M/V Cedar Island, which was involvedin the rescue of two people in Pamilco Sound Thursday night.
The crew of the M/V Cedar Island. From left to right: Ferry Crew Member G.S. Salter, Ferry Crew Member W.D. Smith, Oiler D.P. Styron, Ferry Crew Member R.K. Willis, Captain Steven Goodwin, Chief Engineer C.G. Gilliken, Mate J.P. Morris.