HomeUSACoast Guard Aids Stranded Boaters as Tornado Ravages Virginia Coast

Coast Guard Aids Stranded Boaters as Tornado Ravages Virginia Coast

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Two boaters were rescued from a marshy island in Virginia after they were stranded in poor weather, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The boaters were rescued on the same day a tornado devastated parts of the Virginia coast.

Rescuers got a call for help from the boaters on the afternoon of April 30, according to a news release from the Coast Guard.

A boat captain and his passenger were stuck on Mink Island, nearly two miles offshore — and the weather was worsening, the release said. The boaters were beached on the island due to “deteriorating weather” and couldn’t get back out to the waters to return home, according to the Coast Guard.

Mink Island is a popular area for hikers, fishers and bird watchers, according to the Explore Our Seaside organization, which is partnered with the Virginia Department of Conservation. The island is speckled with marshes, channels, creeks and mudflats. Visiting remote parts of the island is only advised for “the most experienced boaters or paddlers,” the organization says.

Rescuers from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City helped hoist the stranded boaters out of the marshy island via helicopter and transported them to the Virginia sector of the Coast Guard, the release said. No injuries were reported.

Meanwhile, dozens of homes along the coast of Virginia Beach, which is within about 25 miles of Mink Island, were decimated by a tornado during the severe weather on April 30, the Virginia Beach government reported on its website.

A Virginia sector of the U.S. National Weather Service reported a “slight risk for severe weather” zone on April 29, which included Virginia Beach, Mink Island and other parts of southeast Virginia and Northeast North Carolina.

Among destroyed homes, Virginia Beach residents also reported gas leaks, downed trees and localized flooding, the Virginia Beach City Government shared on Facebook. The city manager declared a local state of emergency following the tornado.

In 2021, tornadoes killed more than 100 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hundreds more were injured.

While tornadoes are always dangerous, experts say there are several things you can do to be more prepared:

  • Use a battery-operated TV, radio or other device to listen to weather information.
  • Have a plan for getting to a safe shelter.
  • Have an emergency kit prepared with water, nonperishable food and medication.
  • Keep a list of important information, including relevant phone numbers.
  • Tell your children what a tornado is and what to do if one strikes.

Once a tornado hits, experts say you should follow these steps to help you and family members stay safe:

  • Watch for a dark- or green-colored sky, a large, low-lying cloud, hail or a roar that sounds like a freight train.
  • Go to a basement or inside room without windows if possible.
  • Get under something sturdy and cover your body with a blanket.
  • Protect your head with anything available.
  • If you live in a mobile home, leave the home immediately and find a building.
  • If you’re in a car, leave the car and head to the nearest building.

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