The National Guard, a firefighter and a radio operator helped rescue the stranded couple.

by: Adam Wagner, StarNews Staff

Amateur radios and quick communication late Saturday helped emergency officials rescue a pair of people who were stranded on Trails End Road.

The man and woman had gone to check on their boat at the Masonboro Yacht Club and Marina when a tree and live power line fell across the road, stranding them.

They called a friend with a ham radio who, in turn, contacted Stephen Russ, an Amateur Radio Emergency Services volunteer who was stationed at the New Hanover County’s Emergency Operations Center. Russ kicked into action, walking over to the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office representative stationed there.

“At that point, all emergency vehicles in New Hanover County, sheriff’s rescue squads and all that were parked because of the high winds,” Russ said.

The officials spoke with a National Guard team also stationed at the center, who headed to Trails End in a Humvee. A firefighter joined the team and used a hot stick — a pole firefighters carry — to lift the live wire, allowing the vehicle to drive under, pick the people up and drive back out.

Ham radio operators are stationed with emergency officials, Russ said, in case the cell phone network or other forms of communication fail.

“It was just inter-department communication there in the EOC,” Russ said.

Reporter Adam Wagner can be reached at 910-343-2389 or Adam.Wagner@StarNewsOnline.com.