Coast Guard rescues 19 people, assists 14 others during Lake Erie storms

USCG File Photo

CLEVELAND — Coast Guard crews rescued 19 people and escorted 14 back to shore in four separate weather-related cases on Lake Erie involving capsized vessels, Saturday.

Coast Guard Sector Detroit command center received notification of a pontoon boat, with 12 adults aboard, that was hit by rough seas and taking on water about a mile off of Gem Beach on Catawba Island, north of Sandusky, Ohio, at approximately 1:45 p.m.

Three people in the water were rescued by a Customs and Boarder Patrol boatcrew and the remaining nine aboard the pontoon boat were escorted back by a Coast Guard boatcrew to Gem Beach Marine in West harbor. There were no reported injuries.

In the second case, watchstander at Coast Guard Station Erie received a “Mayday” call over Channel 16 from the operator of a 28-foot charter boat with seven people aboard stating they were taking on water about three miles offshore of the Walnut Creek Access at approximately 2:39 p.m.

The seven people were recovered from the water by a Coast Guard boatcrew and brought back to shore to awaiting EMS. One person was treated after inhaling water while entering the water.

In a third case, Station Erie received a call from 911 dispatch about a 22-foot boat with 12 people aboard capsized near Dobbins Landing in Presque Isle Bay at approximately 8:20 p.m.

The Coast Guard boatcrew rescued ten people while a good Samaritan rescued two others. All of the people were brought to shore to awaiting EMS. No injuries were reported.

In a fourth case, a boatcrew from Station Erie rescued two kayakers while on patrol.

Weather conditions on Lake Erie throughout the day included a small craft advisory with winds creating seas in excess of 4 feet.

“These cases we were involved in today highlight the importance of wearing a life jacket at all times, and knowing the weather conditions before getting underway,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class James Stephenson, a member of one of the rescue crews from Station Erie. “Today could have been dramatically different and could easily have ended in tragedy for any one of these people.”

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