SULLIVAN'S ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - Seventeen years after four family members were killed in a tragic boating accident, the family and the community for the first have come together for a special memorial service on Sullivan's Island.
"Seventeen years ago to the day, we had the opportunity to save four lives in peril, and we didn't do it," said Rear Admiral Jake Korn with the Coast Guard.
It was a stormy December night when 49-year-old Mike Cornett, his two sons, Daniel and Paul, and his nephew Bobby Lee Hurd, Jr., were killed in a boating accident while entering the Charleston Harbor. Seventeen years later, the Coast Guard admits regret, but says this tragedy changed the way the Coast Guard operates.
"The loss of your family members fundamentally changed the nature of the Coast Guard response community nationwide so something like this could never happen again," said Korn.
The Coast guard says now there is more advanced technology and training for search and rescue procedures.
"As a result of what happened at the Morning Dew, there are probably thousands of lives across the country that have been saved," said Alvin Taylor with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
This is the first time there has been a community memorial service for the Morning Dew tragedy. Anne Buckle wrote a song for her cousins and uncle who are now with her in spirit.
"I'm so thankful for the nine years I had with all of them. They make me a better person everyday just thinking about them," said Buckle.
"We continue to suffer with you and we continue to think about you everyday," said Taylor.