Coast Guard, good Samaritan rescue 7 from sinking vessel in southern Lake Michigan

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CLEVELAND — The Coast Guard and a good Samaritan rescued seven people after their vessel began taking on water in southern Lake Michigan Saturday evening.

Around 4:30 p.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan in Milwaukee received a broadcast on VHF-FM channel 16 from a passenger aboard a 28-foot boat, with six other people aboard, stating that their boat was taking on water approximately 1.5 nautical miles east of Burns Harbor, Indiana.

Sector watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast. The broadcast advises mariners of an emergency situation and asks them to keep a sharp lookout, assist if able and report all sightings to the nearest Coast Guard unit.

A boat crew from Coast Guard Station Michigan City, Indiana, was dispatched aboard a 45-foot response boat and a second boat crew was diverted aboard a 25-foot response boat.

A good Samaritan responded to the UMIB and transferred five of the seven people to their boat while two people stayed on the boat to attempt to dewater it.

The 25-foot response boat arrived on scene and reported that the boat’s bilge pump was working, but unable to keep up with the flooding.

Due to the flooding, the vessel began to capsize and the remaining two people were taken aboard the response boat.

Before the 45-foot response boat could arrive on scene with a dewatering pump, the vessel capsized. All passengers were accounted for with no reported injuries.

The response boat and good Samaritan took all seven passengers to shore in Burns Ditch, Indiana.

Sector Lake Michigan has issued a broadcast notice to mariners to advise them of the capsized vessel while Station Michigan City assists the owner with contacting a salvage company.

The Coast Guard reminds mariners of the importance of having a VHF-FM radio aboard their vessels. It is the best way to call for help in the case of an emergency. It is also important for mariners to thoroughly inspect their vessel to make sure safety and communications equipment is working properly before getting underway. Boaters can contact the Coast Guard Auxiliary for a free vessel inspection.

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