A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter rescued four people from a Beaufort shrimp boat early Wednesday morning.
The Gracie Belle, an 80-foot vessel owned by the Reaves family, was in distress about two miles off Pritchards Island, the Coast Guard said. An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from the Coast Guard facility in Charleston pulled the boaters from the trawler.
Craig Reaves said he had not talked to Gracie Belle’s crew Wednesday afternoon but that the trawler was saved.
“It was storming; it was nasty,” he said by phone while Gracie Belle was being towed back to St. Helena Island. “They felt like it was unsafe.”
In a Facebook post, Reaves said the mast broke off about 3 a.m., and an outrigger dropped into the water. A Beaufort Water Search and Rescue boat brought Reaves to his brother, Cameron, aboard Palmetto Pride.
The men were bringing Gracie Belle back Wednesday afternoon and were back in inshore waters, Reaves said.
“The day is not over, but we are back to safe waters,” Reaves posted. “Pray for us. This has been a difficult day, to say the least.”
On Tuesday, the Reaveses celebrated the grand opening of a new location of the family business. Sea Eagle on Village Creek on St. Helena is a working dock, seafood processing and retail facility.
Sea Eagle also recently moved into a new building on Boundary Street. That location includes a fish market and restaurant.