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CG Responses Florida & South June 2007 - Soundings Online

CG Responses Florida & South June 2007

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Recent responses from Florida and the South

Recent responses from Florida and the South

Boater’s body found

Air Station Clearwater, Fla.

A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater helicopter crew located the body of a boater who was reported missing the day before in the vicinity of Anclote Key, Fla. The 57-year-old man was reported overdue by his wife when he failed to return home from a fishing trip. The man launched a 13-foot Boston Whaler from the OzonaShore boat ramp early in the morning and was expected to return by late afternoon. Crews from Coast Guard Station Sand Key and Air Station Clearwater, officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit, Honeymoon Island Park Rangers and Anclote Key Park Rangers searched through the night with no sign of the missing man. A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater helicopter crew located the overturned boat east of HoneymoonIsland. About 45 minutes later, the crew located the man’s body in the water north of Anclote Key. (March 2)

Daycruisers missing

Air Station Miami, Fla.

The Coast Guard was searching for a man and woman reported overdue after they failed to return from a voyage. According to their neighbor, the couple departed Summerland Key and planned to sail their 18-foot sailboat through the Intracoastal Waterway to Sawyer Key, Fla. The neighbor reported them overdue to the Coast Guard after he noticed they had not returned home. Their sailboat is reportedly white, with the word “Puke” written on the side in yellow lettering. An HH-65 “Dolphin” helicopter from Air Station Miami, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission vessel and the neighbor were searching the waters between Summerland Key and Sawyer Key. Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the DistrictSevenCommandCenter at (305) 415-6800. (March 4)

Rescued off Key West

Station Key West, Fla.

The Coast Guard rescued two people after their kayak capsized about 100 yards north of Key West, Fla. A sailboat called rescue coordinators at Sector Key West to report that the two kayakers had gone in the water and required immediate help. Neither of them had been wearing their life jackets. A rescue crew from Coast Guard Station Key West located the pair, recovered them and their kayak and took them back to their sailboat at Fleming Key Mooring Field. Both of the kayakers were reported to be in good condition. (March 5)

Sailboat dismasted

Air Station Miami, Fla.

The Coast Guard rescued two men in FloridaBay about 20 miles south of Everglades City, Fla., after receiving an alert from an emergency transponder. After receiving the report, the Coast Guard immediately launched a rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Miami. The helicopter’s crew located the two men in distress. The helicopter’s rescue swimmer was deployed and conducted a health check of the men before hoisting them. The two uninjured men were taken to Marathon Airport, Fla., and released. According to the men, their sailboat lost its mast in rough weather, but they rode out the adverse weather until sunrise when they decided to set off their Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. The two men were wearing life jackets. (March 6)

Capsize, two missing

Station Fort Myers Beach, Fla.

The Coast Guard suspended the two-day search for two missing boaters in the vicinity of Boca Grande Pass. The Coast Guard, along with state and local agencies, had been searching for the two boaters since the day before when CoastGuardStationFort MyersBeach received a call from 911 reporting that a 15-foot pleasure boat with four people on board ran aground and began taking on water near Boca Grande Pass. At the time of the incident, one of the men was able to use a seat cushion from the boat as a flotation device to swim to shore and call 911. Another man clung to the hull of the boat and was rescued by officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Both men were taken to a nearby hospital. The Coast Guard, along with surface and air units from FWC, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, and land units from Boca Grande Fire and Rescue searched a 250-square-mile area from Red Fish Pass to Stump Pass for more than 60 hours, but were unable to locate the two missing boaters. FWC was investigating the incident. (March 12)

Without a trace

Air Station Clearwater, Fla.

The Coast Guard announced it had suspended the search for a fisherman off the coast of St. Augustine, Fla., who was reported missing by his brother. The 34-year-old man left from the Lighthouse Boat Ramp in St. Augustine to go for a day of recreational fishing. He was supposed to be back at 7 p.m. and when he didn’t show up, his brother called the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard launched an extensive search for the man and eventually found his boat with no one aboard 27 miles northeast of St. Augustine. The Coast Guard officially suspended its search after more than 39 hours. Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force crews from across the Southeastern United States assisted in the search. It included Coast Guard aircrews from Air Station Savannah, Ga., and Air Station Clearwater, Fla.; Navy aircrews from Naval Air Station Jacksonville and Naval Station Mayport, Fla., Air Force aircrews from the 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.; Coast Guard boat crews from Station Mayport; and the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Kingfisher from Mayport. Rescue crews conducted 24 separate search sorties covering more than 4,300 square miles. Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force rescue crews searched for a combined 112 hours. The Coast Guard kept in close contact with the man’s family and kept them up to date on every aspect of the search since he was reported missing. (March 17)

Stranded with rising tide

Air Station Cherry Point, N.C.

Two adults and a child were plucked from a sandbar off Cedar Island, N.C., as the tide rose. A passerby on a jonboat called Carteret County 911 to report a family stranded on a sandbar in Drum Inlet near their sinking boat. Carteret County 911 called Coast Guard Sector N.C. for assistance. Sector N.C. search and rescue controllers launched a Marine Corps rescue helicopter from Air Station Cherry Point, and boats from Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet. Sea Level Fire and Rescue also deployed. The water depth prevented the boat crews from approaching, and they stood by at the scene until the Marine Corps helicopter finished hoisting the family. The family showed symptoms of mild hypothermia, and they were taken to Carteret General Hospital. The Coast Guard regularly works with the Marine Corps and other federal, state and local agencies to ensure the success of rescue missions. (March 12)

Possible hoax

Station Georgetown, S.C.

The Coast Guard has suspended its search for six missing boaters who reportedly were in trouble 600 yards east of the Spring Maid Fishing Pier and is investigating the call as a possible hoax. The crew at Coast Guard Station Georgetown, S.C., received a mayday call over VHF channel 16 that reported six people were aboard a 23-foot pleasure boat that was taking on water in the vicinity of the Spring Maid Fishing Pier. Coast Guard rescue coordinators lost communication with the boat shortly after the initial mayday call, and no other information about the boat was available. Two Coast Guard helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station Savannah, Ga., and Air Facility Charleston searched the area. Crews from Coast Guard Detached Duty Office Myrtle Beach, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, the Myrtle Beach Police Department and Horry County Fire Department conducted shore side searches of the area. A Coast Guard boat crew conducted a surface search of the area. All of the rescue crews were unable to turn up any signs of distress. Coast Guard rescue coordinators believed any debris or persons in the water would have drifted toward the beach. Rescue crews didn’t spot anything to lead them to believe that the 23-foot boat sank in the area. Weather in the search area made searches more dangerous and more difficult for Coast Guard helicopter crews. Weather conditions in the search area consisted of 30-knot sustained winds with 6- to 8-foot seas. One rescue boat costs about $500 an hour to operate. A Coast Guard helicopter costs more than $3,000 hourly to operate. For this case, the rescue boat crews searched a total of 1-1/2 hours and the helicopter crew searched a total of 5-1/2 hours, which cost taxpayers more than $21,000. (March 2)