Pilots to be recognized for rescue of four

From the May 10 issue of The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier:

The Coast Guard today will recognize the efforts of two Charleston Pilots crew members in what officials said was a courageous rescue of four people stranded after their boat capsized.

Boat captains John Miles and Frank Witunsky will be presented with the Coast Guard’s Meritorious Public Service Award. The award is the Coast Guard’s second highest for public service and is offered to those individuals who display unusual courage in their assistance, Lt. Tim McNamara said.

The Charleston Branch Pilots Association provides pilots to container, cargo, cruise and military ships that enter and leave the Port of Charleston to prevent shipping accidents.

It was late on March 30 when Miles and Witunsky heard a distress call.

The pair decided to divert their course in the direction of the call, which was about 12 miles off the Charleston Harbor, Miles said.

Luckily, it wasn’t quite dark yet, Miles said, making it easier for them to navigate the choppy waters in their 75-foot vessel.