Coast Guard rescues 2 Port Richey mariners

Coast Guard District 7 NewsPORT RICHEY, Fla. – The Coast Guard rescued two Port Richey residents 24 miles west of New Port Richey at 10 a.m., Monday.

Search and rescue controllers at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg were notified Sunday at 7 p.m. by a concerned friend reporting his neighbor, a 64-year-old man and his 63-year-old girlfriend were overdue aboard a 22-foot fishing boat that departed for Double Hammock Creek at 10 a.m., Sunday. According to the reporting source, they were supposed to be back Sunday afternoon, but never returned.

The Coast Guard launched a 47-foot Motor Life boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Sand Key and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater at 11 p.m., Sunday. The rescue teams searched throughout the night, concentrating their search west of Anclote Key. Members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Pasco County Fire Department and Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission also assisted in the search.

The Jayhawk aircrew located a vessel with two people aboard, waving in distress, 24 miles west of New Port Richey at 10 a.m., Monday. A rescue swimmer was lowered from the helicopter to the boat, so he could confirm their identity and deliver a radio. The 22-foot fishing boat had a dead battery rendering the crew unable to call for assistance. The MLB boatcrew arrived on scene at 10:30 a.m. and took the vessel in tow.

“They couldn’t contact us because their vessel’s battery was dead,” said Chief Harold Leboeuf, Sector St. Petersburg command duty officer. “This could of been much worse – they were very lucky to be located.”

The Coast Guard reminds all boaters that in the event of a maritime emergency, the use of a float plan, VHF radio, life jackets and an Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon are critical to ensuring a swift rescue. For information on boating safety, please visit http://www.safeboatingcampaign.com.

No injuries were reported. SEATOW has been contracted to finish towing the vessel to port.

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