Volunteers from Civil Air Patrol's Mississippi Wing spotted and helped rescue four boaters whose vessel was stranded without power in the Mississippi Sound on Saturday.
Lt. Col. David Rogers, the wing's vice commander, said Monday an aerial "sundown patrol" off the waters along the Harrison and Jackson county lines spotted the vessel at about 6:15 p.m. with its passengers waving frantically.
The two-member CAP aircrew, Maj. Ronald Turner and 1st Lt. Carroll Fontenot, rocked the wings of their Cessna 182 aircraft to acknowledge they received the boaters' distress signals.
Rogers said the vessel did not appear to have power. Winds were high, seas were running four to six feet and there was a small-craft warning in effect at the time, he said.
Turner and Fontenot alerted the U.S. Coast Guard, who asked the aircrew to stay on station with the vessel until they reached the site, Rogers said. The CAP aircrew remained at the scene until the Coast Guard towed the vessel to port at about 7:20 p.m.
More than 50 wing members conduct aerial patrols of the coastal waters of the Mississippi Sound and the Barrier Islands each year.
Rogers said the sundown patrol, which extends from the Pearl River at Louisiana to the Alabama line, is conducted each weekend, two hours before sundown.
Working in unison with the Coast Guard, Rogers said Mississippi Wing air crews look for boaters in distress, hazards to navigation and anyone that might need assistance on or near the barrier islands.