A U.S. Coast Guard crew
from Memphis, Tenn., rescued three men whose vessel sank on the Mississippi River
, near Tunica, Miss., Thursday at about 10:15 a.m.
, Rick Howell
and Tony Lippman were
rescued after their 22-foot skiff sank as they were returing from an oil spill cleanup in Tunica. At the time of the accident, there were high winds and choppy conditions reported on the river.
A Coast Guard inspection crew from Marine Safety Office Memphis was also at the Tunica oil spill site monitoring cleanup efforts when they were informed that the three men were in the water.
The crew, Lt. Ted Lampton, Petty Officer 3rd Class Wyatt Ingram
and Petty Officer 3rd Class Jacob Taylor, ran to the nearest vessel, the Tunica Queen, and asked the captain to get underway so they could try to rescue the men. When the Tunica Queen arrived where the three men had fallen in the river, the Coast Guardsmen leaned overboard, and with the assistance of the vessel's crew pulled Nigg and Howell out of the water.
Lippman floated farther downstream toward an approaching tow boat and barge. Despite 25-knot winds, Ingram was able to throw a life ring close to Lippman and the crew pulled him to safety.
The Tunica Queen transported the three men to shore where they were evaluated by awaiting medical personnel. Nigg was taken by ambulance to Baptist Desoto Hospital in Southaven, Miss., for treatment for hypothermia. Howell and Lippman did not need additional medical attention.
All three men were wearing life jackets at the time of the incident.
"The rescue efforts were a direct result of preparedness and teamwork," said Cmdr. David Stalfort, commanding officer of MSO Memphis. "We work in dangerous conditions everyday. Yesterday proved how a routine oil spill can turn into a search and rescue case in seconds."