CLEVELAND – The Coast Guard rescued six people, including a 2-month-old infant and a nine-year-old boy, from a boat taking on water on the Niagara River about two miles south of Niagara Falls, late Wednesday night.
At about 10:30 p.m., a watchstander at Coast Guard Station Buffalo, N.Y., received a call via a landline phone from a woman reporting that she heard a boat hit something in the vicinity of the Mississippi Mud restaurant on the Niagara River. The reporting source believed that her family was aboard the boat. The watchstander then lost connection before being able to gather further information.
The watchstander radioed a boatcrew, aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small, that was already underway conducting law enforcement boardings. The boatcrew immediately responded along with a rescue crew from the Erie County Sheriff’s office.
“As we were approaching the reported area, we saw a bright S.O.S. signal up ahead that directed us to the appropriate location of the boat taking on water,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Tyler Benson, coxswain of the rescue boat. “We would have had a hard time locating this boat because of the darkness and location without the S.O.S signal.”
One of the men on the boat downloaded the S.O.S application on his smartphone upon seeing the flashing lights of the Coast Guard rescue boat approaching.
“As soon as we arrived on scene, we pulled along side the boat to converse with the people on the boat, and the next thing we knew a woman was handing us her 2-month-old baby through the boat’s window saying, ‘save my baby,’” said Benson.
Another member of the rescue crew, Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan Weil, then immediately helped the 9-year-old boy and the women aboard the rescue boat. Shortly thereafter, the men were brought aboard the response boat.
As the boat was being dewatered by the rescue crew’s P-6 dewatering pump, Benson towed it to a nearby dock at Niawanda Park.
A boat striking a submerged object is believed to be the cause of this incident.
No injuries or pollution were reported.
The Coast Guard reminds all boaters to stay calm during an emergency situation and be prepared to wave down rescue crews as necessary. Having and knowing how to use day and night signaling devices can save your life.