Coast Guard rescues father, son from overturned sailing vessel near Anclote Key

CLEARWATER, Fla. - (from left) Petty Officer 2nd Class Sara Faulkner, Petty Officer 2nd Class David Ehrenzeller, Chris Swinney and his son Victor, Lt. Chris Enoksen and Lt.j.g. Grant Langston are all smiles after a successful search and rescue case near Anclote Key, Fla., May 14, 2011. Swinney and his son, of Ocala, Fla., were rescued after their 22-foot sailing vessel capsized during a storm. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Tara Molle

All smiles after a successful search and rescue case near Anclote Key, Fla. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Tara Molle

CLEARWATER, Fla. – The Coast Guard rescued a 37-year-old male and his 4-year-old son from an overturned sailing vessel approximately 300-yards north of Anclote Key, Fla., Saturday.

At 2:13 p.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, Fla., received an alert via Digital Selective Calling, a button on VHF radios used for distress, which gives a GPS location for the vessel when both equipments are properly connected.

A Coast Guard Station Sand Key, Fla., 25-foot Response Boat Small crew launched at 2:15 p.m., to the scene.

The crew arrived on scene at approximately 3 p.m., and saw the overturned vessel and two lifejackets in the water.

Due to inclement weather, shallow water and several attempts to reach the overturned vessel, the crew could not reach the sailing vessel and notified Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg who launched a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Clearwater at 3:40 p.m. and arrived at 3:50 p.m.

The father and son were found, safely hoisted into the helicopter and brought back to the air station where they waited for family to come pick them up.

“The weather got bad really fast,” said Chris Swinney of Ocala, Fla. “I knew as long as the boat was afloat and visible that we should stay with it. Victor (Swinney’s son) saw it first and said ‘I see a helicopter!'”

“The whole rescue happened pretty fast,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Sara Faulkner, an aviation survival technician at Air Station Clearwater. “When I put him (Victor) in the basket, it was like he already knew what to do. They were both in good condition. A little cold and bruised but a relief that they were okay.”

“When I got Victor into the cabin of the helicopter he had a huge smile on his face,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Dave Ehrenzeller, an aviation mechanic technician at Air Station Clearwater.

 

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