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ONLY ON 3: Three rescued after boat capsizes

READ MORE: ONLY ON 3: Three rescued after boat capsizes
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WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- What started as a relaxing fishing trip quickly turned into a very scary situation for three men Thursday.

After hours of working to get a boat that flipped in Rich’s Inlet near Figure Eight Island upright, Sea Tow returned it back to shore. The Coast Guard and the private boat towing company were called out to the site of the accident Thursday morning after word that a boat with three passengers capsized.

Captain Robert Lomax of Sea Tow was the first to get there. He says he got all three men out of the water and then began working on getting the boat. He says the fishermen must have been caught off guard.

“They left Masonboro Inlet and drove down the beach to fish on the outside of Rich's Inlet there,” Lomax said. “They just got too close to the bar and took a wave over the port side and it flipped them over. Quickly."

Lomax says all three men on the 19-foot Twin Vee boat were in their eighties and suffered minor injuries like scrapes and bruises. He says one man may have broken his foot and a rib but refused to go to the hospital. He says luckily, all the men had life jackets.

“We get reports all the time of people who break down just outside the surf zone without proper safety equipment,” Lomax said. “An anchor for instance or just enough life jackets for people on board, or a working fire extinguisher. It's little things that make a really big difference on how the story goes."

For now, Lomax says the boat will be docked and assessed for damages. He says he thinks it's going to take a lot of work to get back out on the water.

We attempted to reach out to the boaters involved in the accident, but we have not heard back.

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That whole area around Rich Inlet and Nixon Channel...

....has been going downhill since Hurricane Ophelia and it is getting increasingly "weird" when it comes to all aspects of hydrography. For all practical purposes, there is no more "inlet" at high tide, just a five-hundred yard sandbar that is covered (more or less). The original dredged channel is still there, but I see far too many people cutting across the sandbar at high tide and immediately encountering heavy surf as they clear it on oceanside. If you take the time to go the extra half mile and use the original inlet, it's far easier to get out without encountering breakers.

The sandbar also hooks back into Nixon Channel and causes strong, erratic currents as the tide changes. Smaller sandbars appear and then disappear weekly, and you see a lot of folks aground on a fast falling tide. The rather odd weather we've been having lately isn't helping, and when you have wind and a falling tide we're seeing 2-3 foot waves *behind* the islands.

I have no idea what caused these guys to capsize, but thankfully they're safe. It would behoove anyone using Rich Inlet to be VERY careful however, as it's getting about as bad as Snow's Cut or the mouth of the Cape Fear for erratic currents and localized heavy surf.

Chyea buddy

Sometimes... that's the price you pay for good fishin' ... Ain't that right buddy?