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Coast Guard rescues 5, including 3 children, from stranded catamaran during Tropical Storm Ophelia

Five people were rescued Friday during Tropical Storm Ophelia after their catamaran was stranded in rough waters in Lookout Bight in Cape Lookout.

The owner of sailing vessel Wanderful Life used a cell phone to call Coast Guard Sector North Carolina and report his concern with local weather while being anchored within Lookout Bight. The owner did not feel comfortable in the channel and asked to be rescued by the Coast Guard.

All passengers aboard were wearing lifejackets and three of them were children, ages 10, 7, and 4.

A Life Boat crew from Fort Macon made it through the narrow channel using parachute flares to light their way and transferred all five people onto their boat.

A Coast Guard helicopter from Elizabeth City provided an overhead light for the trip back to the station.

Officials say there were 6-foot to 8-foot seas at the time, with occasional 10-foot swells, and winds were 35 to 40 mph.

Nobody was hurt

Annette is originally a Midwest gal, born and raised in Michigan, but with career stops in many surrounding states, the Pacific Northwest, and various parts of the southeast. She has been involved in the media industry in eastern North Carolina for more than three years. An award-winning journalist and mother of four, Annette moved to ENC to be closer to family – in particular, her two young grandchildren. It’s possible that a -27 day with a -68 windchill in Minnesota may have also played a role in that decision. In her spare time, Annette does a lot of toddler and baby cuddling, reading, designing costumes for children’s theater and producing the coolest Halloween costumes anyone has ever seen. She has also worked as a diversity and inclusion facilitator serving school districts and large corporations. It’s the people that make this beautiful area special, and she wants to share those stories that touch the hearts of others. If you have a story idea to share, please reach out by email to