Towboat rescues 21 from sinking vessel

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Around 7 p.m. on Sunday, Capt. Dan Mercier, Jr. of Sea Tow Naples, Fla., and his brother and Mate Chris Mercier were returning from patrolling the Gulf Coast waters north of Marco Island, Florida, when a distress call came over the VHF radio.

“The caller was screaming, ‘We need help; we’re sinking; we’re off Keewaydin Beach,’” Dan Mercier said in a statement. “Then we lost contact.”

Using his knowledge of the local waters to search for the sinking vessel, he and his brother quickly located the chaotic scene — a 22-foot deckboat was submerged to the gunwales in the Gulf of Mexico about a mile and a half off Keewaydin Island in Naples. Click here for the full release.