Maryland Wing Civil Air Patrol responds to emergency beacon
January 26, 2020 — ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Members of the Maryland Wing, Civil Air Patrol responded to an emergency callout this weekend for an activation of an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB). These radio beacons, typically found aboard boats and ships, are designed to summon emergency aid in the event of an accident or the boat sinking.
“When the EPIRB works as intended, it can be a lifesaver,” Major Michael Zabetakis, Civil Air Patrol incident commander. “However, like anything electronic or mechanical, they need to be maintained and kept in good working order.”
Thirty-seven Civil Air Patrol volunteers from across the state assisted on the mission utilizing two search aircraft and six ground vehicles to locate the beacon. The two-day search was complicated by a large search area, marginal weather conditions, terrain, and unusual radio signal patterns. On Saturday the U.S. Coast Guard aided the search with support of a 45-foot boat and a small boat. The search was suspended just before midnight and resumed early Sunday morning. Just after 2:00 p.m., the beacon was located and found to be malfunctioning aboard a boat in a marina south of Annapolis. With the owner’s permission, CAP personnel boarded the boat and silenced the false alarm.
Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 82 lives annually. CAP’s 66,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. In addition, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to over 28,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit www.GoCivilAirPatrol.com or www.CAP.news for information.
More than 1,500 members serve in Civil Air Patrol’s Maryland Wing. Last year, wing members flew 13 actual search and rescue missions. Overall, the Maryland Wing flew 32 missions for the State of Maryland, flying 2,245 hours in all mission categories, and was credited with four finds. Volunteers contributed services estimated at $4.6 million. For information, contact the Maryland Wing at mdwg.cap.gov or follow the wing on Facebook.
Lt. Col. Bob Midkiff, CAP
Director of Emergency Services, Maryland Wing