The seven-man crew of a scallop boat that ran aground at Rockaway Beach, N.Y., were airlifted to safety, after five Coast Guard rescuers were pitched into the surf when their 25’ Defender-class small boat capsized in 10’ to 12’ waves early Thursday morning.

The 76’x24’x13’6” Carolina Queen III, homeported in Seaford, Va., went up on the beach in gale-force winds, in the last hours of a massive line of thunderstorms moving up the mid-Atlantic states.

At 2 a.m. Coast Guard Sector Long Island received a distress call from the crew, reporting the boat was taking on water. Shortly after the captain called again, reporting he had the vessel under control and had run aground near East Rockaway Inlet, according to the Coast Guard.

A Coast Guard crew was dispatched from the Jones Beach station to pick up the fishermen. But their twin-outboard boat capsized, and the crew swam to safety on the beach where they were treated by local emergency medical technicians.

New York City emergency management, police and fire personnel assisted the Coast Guard on the beach. After sunrise, an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from the Atlantic City air station lifted the fishermen off the vessel by basket.

Coast Guard officials said it was unclear how the Carolina Queen III got in trouble. It was expected the boat would be refloated on high tide and moved off the beach with commercial assistance.

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