Missing from burning boat
Air Station Clearwater, Fla.
Two rescue helicopters from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater were searching for three people in the water from a burning shrimp boat about 90 miles west of Naples, Fla. Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a call from NOAA research vessel Odin Explorer reporting that an 89-foot shrimpboat was engulfed in flames. The boat’s owner confirmed that there were three people on board. An H-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter from Air Station Clearwater arrived on scene to search the area for three people in the water. Another Air Station Clearwater helicopter was launched to aid in the search. Coast Guard Cutter Marlin was also on scene assisting in the search. The Coast Guard suspended the search after covering about 4,244 square miles with no sign of the missing boat crew. Since the Coast Guard began searching, a C-130, several H-60 helicopters, an HH-65 helicopter and Coast Guard Cutters Marlin and Hawk were involved in the search. (Oct. 7)
Two hoisted from the water
Air Station Clearwater, Fla.
A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater H-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew pulled two people from the water 80 miles NNW of St. Petersburg. Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a call from the operator of a 34-foot fishing boat, reporting that the boat was having engine trouble but did not need Coast Guard assistance. The 60-year-old and 26-year-old men made sure the Coast Guard knew where the boat was located in case the trouble continued. Later in the day, Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a broken-up mayday call from the fishing boat on Channel 16 with no other transmission. Since the boat’s master had called earlier and logged his position, the Coast Guard knew where he may have been calling from and immediately launched a rescue helicopter from Air Station Clearwater to search the area. The helicopter crew arrived on scene to see the fishing boat engulfed in flames and two people in the water. The rescue crew immediately hoisted the two people on board and transferred them to Air Station Clearwater. It is the owner’s intention to have the boat recovered by a towing company. (Oct. 9)
Search for missing boaters
Station Mayport, Fla.
The Coast Guard located five boaters who were reported overdue by their family. The five boaters left a Mayport, Fla., marina on a 25-foot pleasure boat for a fishing trip, and were reported overdue after they did not return that evening. The five boaters were located about 35 miles east of Naval Station Mayport on their boat, which was disabled due to an apparent mechanical failure. The family knew little information about the boat, where the boaters were going and exactly when they were coming back, which left rescue coordinators and crews in Jacksonville trying to fit pieces of a puzzle together. Because the family was unaware of the exact make, model or name of the boat, Coast Guard rescue coordinators searched Florida and federal law enforcement and registration databases for any of the missing boaters’ names. They found the boat in the database. This is important because it gives rescue coordinators and crews an idea of when the Coast Guard last boarded the missing boat and what kind of survival equipment was on board. In an effort to try to narrow down their search area, rescue coordinators obtained information from the boaters’ cell phone companies to see which cell phone tower was the last to pick up a signal from their phones and when their last call was made. Unfortunately, this turned up no information pertinent to the search. Family members of the missing boaters also checked the Mayport Marina for their trucks and trailer to ensure they were still under way. The trucks and trailer were still parked at the Mayport Marina where they left them. A rescue crewman from Station Mayport also talked with workers at the Marina to get a better idea of what time the boaters left and any other information that could help in this case. A rescue crew on board Coast Guard Cutter Kingfisher from Jacksonville began checking all the popular recreational and commercial fishing spots within the missing boat’s range. The crew of Kingfisher found the boaters. The missing boaters were in good condition and had suffered no apparent injuries. The Kingfisher planned to tow the boat and its crew back to safety at the Mayport Marina. A Coast Guard small-boat crew from Station Mayport and rescue coordinators from the Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville command center were also involved in the search. (Oct. 19)
Found on overturned hull
Air Station Clearwater, Fla.
Coast Guard crews rescued two fishermen sitting atop their overturned 15-foot fiberglass boat 24 miles southwest of Lido Key, Fla. The 41-year-old and 35-year-old men were reported missing when they did not return to their homes at dusk, following a fishing trip. The Coast Guard immediately launched a boat crew from Coast Guard Station Cortez, Fla. Subsequent searches were coordinated with a
C-130 aircraft and HH-60 helicopter crews from Air Station Clearwater as well as with the Florida Wildlife Commission. The HH-60 rescue crew from Air Station Clearwater spotted the men sitting atop their vessel and hoisted the two safely into the helicopter. They reported their boat flipped over while they attempted to work on the motor. The fishermen lost radios, cell phones and flares at that time. Rescuers praised the duo for wearing life vests and staying hydrated with water and iced tea for a day and a half, and for staying with their boat. They were also commended for sitting atop the vessel during their lengthy ordeal, which helped prevent hypothermia. (Oct. 20)
Call from sinking boat
Station Tybee Island, Ga.
Six people were rescued by a Coast Guard rescue crew after their boat began to take on water in the vicinity of Broad Creek near Hilton Head,
S.C. The crew of a 21-foot pontoon boat called 911 after the boat began
to rapidly take on water on Broad Creek. Rescue coordinators at Sector Charleston dispatched a rescue crew from Station Tybee Island, Ga., to assist in the rescue. The rescue crew found and came to the aid of the foundering boat one hour after they called for help. The rescue crew took all six people off the sinking boat. The rescuers moved the sinking boat from the navigable waterway, and the owner is going to attempt to salvage it himself. All six people were brought to a nearby boat ramp, and were reported to be in good condition. (Oct. 21)
Injury aboard sailboat
Station Ponce Inlet, Fla.
Coast Guard rescue crews were responding to a woman with a possible back injury aboard a sailboat about three miles north of the Flagler Beach Pier, Fla., 600 yards offshore. The crew of the sailboat reported that a female crewmember had sustained a back injury. Soon after, the crew called the Coast Guard rescue coordinators at Sector Jacksonville but then lost communications with them. Rescue coordinators sent a rescue helicopter from Air Station Savannah, Ga., to render assistance to the crew. When the rescue helicopter found the sailboat and reestablished communications, the crew told the helicopter crew they couldn’t put down their sails, which meant the sailboat couldn’t stop. Because the sailboat was moving at a speed of about 4 mph and the seas were 5 to 6 feet, the helicopter was unable to lower the rescue swimmer to check the woman’s condition and possibly hoist her to safety. Rescue coordinators decided to dispatch a rescue boat crew from Station Ponce Inlet, Fla., to assist the helicopter in the rescue after it was done refueling. The small-boat crew transferred the rescue swimmer from the helicopter to the sailboat, and the swimmer made the determination that the woman’s injuries were not life threatening. With that in mind, rescue crews decided an emergency medical evacuation would be too dangerous due to the rough seas off Flagler Beach. The rescue boat crew planned to lower the sail on the sailboat and tow the vessel into safe harbor in Ponce Inlet. Coast Guard personnel were also aboard the sailboat to monitor the injured crewmember’s condition. (Oct. 12)