Coast Guard medevacs man from sailboat near Yankeetown

Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter

USCG File Photo

YANKEETOWN, Fla. — The Coast Guard and Levy County EMS medevaced a 33-year-old man Monday from a sailboat near Yankeetown after the Coast Guard received a report that the man and his friend were missing.

Medevaced was Edward Dunaway, 33, of Clearwater.

At 7:35 a.m. watch standers from Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a report of two missing men aboard a 33-foot sailboat. Dunaway and Jimmy Gibeau were reported missing by Gibeau’s wife. She stated the men were last seen Saturday at Clearwater Harbor Marina and were due to be in Spring Hill at 6 p.m. Sunday.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter air crew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater launched and located the missing men aboard their sailboat entering Crystal River. When the men reached cell phone range, Gibeau reported to watch standers that Dunaway was suffering from seizures and in need of emergency medical assistance. A flight surgeon was notified and recommended Dunaway be medevacked.

A 27-foot Special Purpose Craft-Shallow Water boat crew from Coast Guard Station Yankeetown launched with a Levy County EMS crew member aboard. Dunaway was transferred to the End of County Road 40 Boat Ramp where a Levy County EMS ambulance waited. 

“Filing a float plan with a friend or family member can be the difference between life and death when mariners find themselves in distress,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Lawrence Costa, an operations specialist at Sector St. Petersburg. “Thankfully, these boaters gave a loved one the time of their return and their route, but the best float plans give details including emergency equipment.”

The Coast Guard reminds mariners cell phones are not the best form of emergency communication on the water; instead, they ask boaters to utilize a VHF-FM marine band radio on channel 16 at the first sign of distress.

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