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Coast Guard Responses - Florida and the Gulf

Recent responses from Florida and the Gulf

Recent responses from Florida and the Gulf

Battling big seas

Air Stations Clearwater and Miami, Fla.

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Farallon successfully towed a disabled 37-foot sailboat into an anchorage off Sunset Key, Key West, Fla. Farallon rendezvoused with the sailboat after battling 10- to 12-foot seas for almost 10 hours in response to a distress call from the sailboat, which became disabled approximately 130 miles southwest of Fort Myers Beach, Fla. Farallon then battled those same seas for another 24 hours transiting back to Key West with the sailboat in tow. The four men, ages 61, 59, 39 and 38, on the sailboat activated their EPIRB when they lost steering and the sailboat began to take on water. The unlocated but registered EPIRB signal was received by search and rescue coordinators at the EighthCoastGuardDistrictCommandCenter in New Orleans. Eighth District controllers then contacted the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s U.S. Mission Control Center in Suitland, Md., to obtain the sailboat’s position from the agency’s Cospas-Sarsat program satellites. Controllers at the Seventh Coast Guard District were then notified of the case. The position of the sailboat was also checked against information passed by the captain to a friend during a satellite phone call. SAR coordinators at the Seventh Coast Guard District in Miami took control of the rescue, directing the launch of an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla. Moments later, the AtlanticAreaCommandCenter received an alert from a cruise ship that relayed a mayday call from the sailboat. In the mayday call the crew stated they had lost a rudder, were slowly taking on water and that their satellite phone was no longer working. Two HC-130 Hercules aircraft from Air Station Clearwater and an HU-25 Falcon jet from Air Station Miami flew missions to remain with the sailboat until shortly before the Farallon rendezvoused with the disabled sailboat. (Jan. 4)

No one on board

Station Miami Beach, Fla.

The Coast Guard was searching for a 45-year-old boater who disappeared from his boat three miles east of Key Largo, Fla. Two Good Samaritans just off Elliot Key, Fla., located a 25-foot boat with no one aboard heading toward their boat. They managed to stop the boat and, after going onboard, located a cellular phone. They called the last number dialed and spoke with a person claiming to be the father of the suspected missing boater. Search and rescue coordinators at the DistrictSevenCommandCenter were then notified of the missing boater.An HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Miami, and rescue boat crew from Station Miami Beach, Fla., were launched approximately 20 minutes later to search for the man.A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission boat, a Miami-Dade Fire Rescue boat, and a boat crew from Station Islamorada, Fla., also searched during daylight hours. If anyone has any information on the man’s whereabouts, they are asked to call the DistrictSevenCommandCenter at (305) 415-6800. (Jan. 26)

Missing teens located

Station Fort Myers Beach, Fla.

The Coast Guard ended its search for three missing teenage boaters in the vicinity of Pine Island Sound, Fla., when the boys were reported moored at Fort MyersBeachYachtBasin in Fort Myers, Fla. The three boaters were reported overdue to StationFort MyersBeach by one of the boys’ fathers.The three boys took an 18-foot boat on a boating and camping trip on a Thursday from Pineland, Fla., to North Captiva Island, Fla., and were scheduled to return home the following Saturday before dark. According to the reporting source, the boys arrived at the Fort MyersBeachYachtBasin at about 7 p.m. Saturday and appeared to be intoxicated. The Coast Guard, along with units from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and North Captiva Fire and Rescue, had been searching the area since about 2:30 a.m. before ending the search. No medical concerns were reported. (Jan. 20)

Missing boat captain

Station New Orleans, La.

The Coast Guard was searching for the captain of a 52-foot towing boat that sunk with two people onboard near Norco, La., on the Mississippi River. Sector New Orleans received a call from another towing boat as well as from the dispatch operator of the Saint Rose Fleet facility reporting that the strickened towing boat sank while working with the boat that reported the incident. One crewmember was rescued by the reporting boat and transported by Upper Saint Rose Fleet to a relative’s home. Air Station New Orleans launched an HH-65C rescue helicopter and the New Orleans Marine Safety and Security Team searched with two 25-foot boats. Coast Guard Station New Orleans is currently on scene with a 41-foot boat. St. Charles Sheriff Department and South Louisiana Port Authority were also on scene actively searching. The cause of the incident was under investigation. (Jan. 2)