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Photo courtesy Rande Wilson
A U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary operations vessel rescued nine children and one adult from the 40’ R/V Oceanic, which had run hard aground in Norwalk Harbor this afternoon. The “Otter” a Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel responded to a distress call from the research vessel after it became aground near Light 11 in Norwalk Harbor. The children ages 8 – 11 donned lifejackets and boarded the Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel, while the research vessel crew remained on board.
According to Coxswain Richard Aarons, the rescue went as well as could be expected in light of the unexpected grounding. Coxswain Aarons reported, “My crew performed flawlessly, I cannot say enough for their professionalism. I told them what we needed to do, and they just did it.” After getting the children and an adult companion off the stricken vessel, we transported them to the Norwalk Maritime Aquarium dock off Water Street in Norwalk. “Everyone was safe, smiling and in good spirits,” said Coxswain Aarons.
“I think it is important to note, the coordination with civilian and police vessels in this evolution. A private vessel was first to respond to the scene and was a great help. The Darien and Norwalk Marine Police vessels were also on scene within minutes and worked with us.” The coordination between vessels and agencies made this effort successful. A total of fifteen children and two adults were transported to safety, by the joint emergency response.
“I want to especially thank my crew members, Coast Guard Auxiliarists Ric Klinger and John Stefura for doing exactly what they have been so well trained to do;” commented Coxswain Aarons. “I am very proud of them, their training and abilities. Calming the children down and getting them to smile and laugh took the edge off.”
“Coast Guard Auxiliarist Klinger was especially animated and the kids loved the way he softy, yet assuredly spoke to them. Getting the head count right was of prime importance, Auxiliarist Klinger got them to give him names, addresses and contact information without upsetting them,” said Coxswain Aarons.