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US court: Coast Guard boater rescues not required

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (AP) – A federal appeals court is rejecting a North Carolina widow’s lawsuit blaming the Coast Guard for failing to save her husband’s life, saying the agency does not have an obligation to launch life-saving rescues.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., ruled Wednesday that North Carolina residents Susan and Roger Turner suffered an accident in 2007, not Coast Guard negligence. Judges said that federal law authorizes but does not oblige the Coast Guard to launch rescue efforts.

The court said Susan and Roger Turner toppled off their 20-foot-long motorboat in bad weather after a friend’s July 4 holiday party. Neither wore a life jacket. They were reported overdue after midnight, but the Coast Guard didn’t launch a search boat until about eight hours later.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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