Harbor pilots honored by Coast Guard for heroic rescue

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Two Charleston harbor pilots were honored Friday for saving four people from a sinking boat back in March.

John Miles and Frank Witunsky were awarded the Meritorious Public Service Award on Friday by the United States Coast Guard.

The pilots heard a distress call when the boat began sinking 12 miles off the coast. When they arrived, the boaters were in the water clinging to debris from the boat.

Miles, who has been a boat captain for 34 years, said it was like second nature to help those in distress.

"It's just sorta part of our daily job, what we are aware of," Miles said. "That's part of our situational awareness. All the time working on the waterfront, keeping an eye out for anyone that may be in danger."

The Meritorious Public Service Award is the second highest Coast Guard-issued public service award given to those recognized for unusual courage.

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