Coast Guard searches for distressed boaters in the Florida Keys

KEY WEST, Fla. – Coast Guard units are actively searching for a vessel and four people after receiving a call Sunday stating that they were in distress.

Coast Guard Sector Key West search-and-rescue coordinators received the initial call at approximately 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The boater on the radio did not give a position but the coordinators at Sector Key West were able to calculate an approximate position of the boater between Geiger Key, Fla., and Saddle Bunch Keys, Fla., using radio direction-finding capabilities from the Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 VHF radio system.

The Coast Guard responded immediately by launching a rescue boatcrew from Station Key West.

During the afternoon and overnight searches, coordinators at Sector Key West received multiple calls from the same distressed boater who claimed they were near Marquesas Key, Fla. In response to new information the Coast Guard extended its search to include areas near Marquesas Key.

The Coast Guard searched throughout the night and continues its search with multiple assets from multiple Coast Guard units including:

* Three HH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrews from Air Station Miami
* One HU-25 Falcon jet aircrew from Air Station Miami
* Multiple boatcrews from Station Key West
* The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Key Biscayne
* The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Valiant

The Coast Guard requests any information the public may have on the four distressed boaters that may be overdue from a weekend boat trip. If anyone has any information on people who were on the water this weekend near these areas, they are asked to contact the Coast Guard on VHF channel 16 or dial directly to 305-295-9700.

The cutter Key Biscayne is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in Key West.
The cutter Valiant is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Miami.

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