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Two men hurled off tanker in bizarre accident 70 miles off Virginia, says Coast Guard

Two engineers were working on a lifeboat aboard this tanker when it deployed, throwing them into the ocean on Wednesday. Facebook screenshot
Two engineers were working on a lifeboat aboard this tanker when it deployed, throwing them into the ocean on Wednesday. Facebook screenshot

Two crewmen repairing lifeboats on an oil tanker where hurled into the Atlantic Ocean Wednesday, after one of the boats accidentally launched itself off the ship, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

It happened 70 miles off Chincoteague, Virginia, and involved the tanker Chemtrans Nova, officials said.

A Coast Guard cutter was 20 miles away and rushed to the scene, pulling one man off the lifeboat and the other out of the ocean, officials said. Both men were injured, including one with a broken leg, said a Coast Guard release.

It was unclear how far the men plummeted before landing in the water.

“They were fortunate things fell in place, with everyone being close by,” said a statement issued by Chief Petty Officer Josh French of the Coast Guard.

The men were taken to Norfolk Sentara General Hospital for treatment and their conditions were not released. Their names were not released, but both were identified as engineers by Seamanfan.com. The site said the incident delayed the ship by five hours, though it’s not clear how long the men were waiting in the water for rescue.

“The Navy was very helpful. After they overheard the broadcast, they helped locate the men in the water and stayed on scene until the nearby Coast Guard cutter arrived,” said the statement from French.

The Chemtrans Nova is a nearly 800-foot-long crude oil tanker “currently sailing under the flag of Liberia,” according to VesselFindercom. The accident happened as the ship was bound from Philadelphia for an island in the Caribbean, said the site.

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Mark Price has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1991, covering beats including schools, crime, immigration, the LGBTQ issues, homelessness and nonprofits. He graduated from the University of Memphis with majors in journalism and art history, and a minor in geology.

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