Coast Guard response report

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Adrift for days

Air Station Miami, Fla.

A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater C-130 crew assisted in the rescue of a Bahamian citizen after he spent four days adrift at sea. The 52-year-old man was discovered in an 18-foot Boston Whaler by a cruise ship. The cruise ship called Coast Guard Sector Miami who immediately launched an HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter from Air Station Miami to hoist the man from the disabled vessel. The Air Station Clearwater C-130 assisted the rescue by coordinating positions and standing by overhead for about 2-1/2 hours while awaiting arrival of the rescue helicopter from Miami. The rescue helicopter hoisted the man and transported him to Fort Pierce Airport where he was met by awaiting EMS, transferred to Lawnwood Hospital in Port St. Lucie, and treated for exposure and dehydration prior to release. (Nov. 18)

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Stranded sailors

Air Station Clearwater, Fla.

A crew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater rescued a man from his submerged sailboat, and shortly thereafter rescued a woman from another sailboat who suffered injuries when her mooring line parted and she drifted to Gieger Key. The man’s friend reported by cell phone a man stranded on his 34-foot boat and suffering from hypothermia. The stranded man indicated that the heavy winds from Hurricane Wilma caused him to break anchor at Bird Key and ground his vessel near Gieger Key where it proceeded to take on water. The Air Station Clearwater crew hoisted the man into a HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and transferred him to EMS personnel on shore. Immediately following his rescue, the Clearwater crew responded to the nearby 37-foot sailboat with two people and a cat on board. This liveaboard sailboat broke free from its moorings during storm conditions, and drifted and grounded in mangroves near Geiger Key, causing injury to a passenger. Another passenger remained aboard while the air crew hoisted the woman and transferred her to EMS personnel. Weather conditions at the time of the two boats’ groundings were estimated at around 70-knot winds with choppy seas. (Oct. 24)

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Crew abandons ship

Station Key West, Fla.

Coast Guardsmen from Coast Guard Station Key West rescued four people from a life raft after their 53-foot pleasure boat struck the jetty at the Northwest Channel and began to sink. The four boaters aboard the boat were traveling inbound the channel when they reportedly clipped the jetty and began to take on water. The boaters called 911 and the Coast Guard was called by the 911 operator. Station Key West immediately launched both their 23-foot and 27-foot rescue boats while an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter was launched from Air Station Miami. Arriving at the scene, the crew of the Station Key West 27-foot boat found a debris field and began a search. They spotted the life raft soon after. The four boaters were taken to Station Key West. No injuries were reported. (Oct. 26)

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Caught in undertow

Blue Mountain Beach, Destin, Fla.

An off-duty Coast Guardsman celebrating his honeymoon, along with a good Samaritan, rescued three women caught in an undertow at Blue Mountain Beach near Destin, Fla., after they heard cries for help. Rescued were three sorority sisters from Auburn, Ala. The Coast Guard Petty Officer returned to the beach at a local resort to retrieve an extension cord that had been left behind after his wedding, when he heard the cries for help. He jumped into the water and swam about 50 feet toward the women in distress. The current then swept them out to sea another 10 feet. They were soon joined by another man who had also heard the cries for help, and went out to rescue the women in an inflatable raft. The two men then retrieved all the women and proceeded to shore where they were met by family members and friends. (Oct. 27)