Coast Guard rescues 2 off flooding boat in Lake Erie

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CLEVELAND — Coast Guard members rescued two men who were aboard a 23-foot boat that began flooding near Conneaut, Ohio, in Lake Erie late Wednesday afternoon.

Just after 5 p.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Buffalo, New York, heard a mayday broadcast over VHF-FM marine radio from a 23-foot vessel with two men aboard that was flooding near the Conneaut Harbor breakwall.

Sector watchstanders directed the launch of a crew aboard a 45-foot response boat from Coast Guard Station Erie, Pennsylvania, and a crew aboard a 25-foot response boat from Coast Guard Station Ashtabula, Ohio. A third response team visually monitored the situation from shore alongside the Conneaut Fire Department.

An aircrew aboard a Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit was also dispatched due to the vessel’s location and the possibility for it to sink near the rocks.

Shallow water near the flooding vessel prevented the response boats on scene from getting close enough to safely disembark the men, so the aircrew deployed a rescue swimmer to help the men into a basket to be hoisted into the helicopter. The aircrew then took them to Erie International Airport with no medical concerns.

“It is important that mariners check the weather forecast before heading out for a day on the water,” said Mike Baron, the recreational boating safety specialist for the Coast Guard 9th District in Cleveland. “Having the proper equipment aboard, such as a marine radio, is also very important, as this case highlights.”

The vessel was partially submerged and was unable to be taken into tow.

No pollution has been reported, and salvage is being coordinated by the vessel’s owner.

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