Missing shrimpers found alive 7 miles from boat

(Photo: Cathy Rose)

The local men are "lucky to be alive" after clinging to debris in the Pamlico Sound, North Carolina for nearly 18 hours after their boat capsized during a storm.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Andy Kendrick said the two men -- identified by family members as Will Grant and Capt. Kenny Rustick -- were discovered around 6:20 a.m. Wednesday almost 7 miles from where their shrimping boat, The Mad Lady II, capsized around noon Tuesday.

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Kendrick said wildlife officers spotted flares and another fishing boat spotted the men before a Coast Guard helicopter from Air Station Elizabeth City swooped in and made the rescue. They were in about 3 1/2 miles south of Wysocking Bay in the Pamlico Sound.

"To be found alive after your boat capsizes, 7 miles away from where the boat was found, in debris without life jackets ... they’re very lucky," Kendrick said.

Neither man appeared to have any serious injuries, though they will be taken to Sentara Albemarle Medical Center in Elizabeth City for evaluation.

Kendrick said initial reports are that the two men were out shrimping, with the intent of bringing their catch back to Englehard. The boat's generator died, and they got caught in a storm.

Their last message was that they were attempting to drop anchor behind Hog Island. That information was sent out in an alert to area vessels and the search for the two began in earnest.

A account has been set up for Rustick.

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