Three brothers recognized by Coast Guard for rescuing two boaters off Fishers Island
New London — It was a last-minute decision to go fishing that led to two men being rescued.
Cameron Battles got home from work between 6 and 6:30 p.m. on July 5, and suggested to his brothers that they go fishing. Less than two hours later, he and his brothers Kyle and Sam were helping to rescue two mariners, whose boat had started to sink near Fishers Island after being hit by a rogue wave.
On Monday, Cameron, Kyle, and Sam Battles, all 18, of Groton, Mass., who spend their summers in Groton Long Point and will be off to college in the fall, were honored by the Coast Guard with public service awards for their efforts.
The boys are quadruplets – "They're one in 24 million. Spontaneous, natural quadruplets," their mother Cheryl said. Their fourth brother, Max didn't want to go fishing that day. They also have an older brother, Jack.
"You took the time to help someone in distress. That speaks volumes to who you are and your parents raised as kids," Capt. Kevin Reed, commanding officer of Sector Long Island Sound, told the brothers. Their parents, Cheryl and Tim, also attended the brief ceremony, which took place at the Coast Guard station in New London.
The two men they rescued were fishing in a 20-foot Wellcraft boat on the evening of July 5 when around 8 p.m., a rogue wave swamped their boat, according to the Coast Guard. The boat lost power and began to sink. Making matters worse was that there were increasingly strong winds, it was getting dark and there was a fast ebbing tide.
The Battles brothers were also out fishing near Fishers Island that night on their 26-foot center console fishing boat. At one point, Kyle Battles heard yelling, but didn't think much of it at first. When he heard the shouting again, he looked around and saw two men on a boat waving their arms. He turned to his brother, Cameron who was driving the boat, and they headed toward them.
Cameron estimated the boat was about a foot from sinking, and said the two men were about knee deep in water when the brothers arrived. They were using buckets to bail out water from the boat. The brothers threw them portable flotation devices and the two men hopped off their boat, and swam around to the swim platform on the Battles' boat and climbed onto the boat.
"We did what most people would do if they saw someone in distress, just go over and help them out," Kyle Battles said Monday after the brothers received the awards.
The rescued mariners were pretty shaken up, the brothers said, but very grateful. The Battles' said that about five to 10 minutes after they got the men safely aboard their boat, the boat capsized. They notified the Coast Guard and stayed near the boat until TowBoat US arrived to pick up the men and tow their vessel.
"The selflessness, ingenuity and the ability to overcome obstacles displayed by Cameron, Samuel and Kyle prevented the victims of this unfortunate accident from succumbing to exhaustion and hypothermia," the Certificate of Merit from the Coast Guard says.
The Coast Guard also got help from a good Samaritan this past weekend when it rescued four people from a capsized 21-foot vessel near Niantic Bay on Saturday. The Samaritan, who heard the urgent marine information broadcast, arrived on the scene in less than five minutes and took the four people aboard. A boat from Coast Guard Station New London and the Waterford Police Department arrived shortly after.
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