From the air, Sgt. John Buchanan could see the overturned sailboat. Photo courtesy of NRP.

Elderly Sailing Couple Rescued From Overturned Boat in Miles River

A coordinated air and water operation saved a pair of sailors on a breezier-than-expected day last week on the Miles River.

Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) say they got a call reporting an overturned vessel in the Miles on Thursday morning. They deployed an NRP helicopter to search for the boat. Sgt. John Buchanan, Chief Pilot of the NRP Aviation Unit was operating the helicopter known as Natural 1 when he spotted two people holding onto the bottom of a capsized vessel.

Sgt. Buchanan communicated with local emergency crews and a St. Michaels Fire Department fire boat responded to the scene by water. There they found a couple, 83 and 79 years old, both wearing life jackets.

The two were both safe and unharmed. NRP says the pair had been out for a morning sail when a gust of wind overpowered their boat and caused it to capsize.

The coordinated effort between the police helicopter and the fire boat ensured the couple’s safe rescue, but their own decision to wear life jackets gave them a fighting chance to survive while waiting for help.

-Meg Walburn Viviano