NEW ORLEANS — A Coast Guard aircrew and sheriff’s boatcrew located a 64-year-old hunter after his boat sank in the marshes on the northern edge of Lake Salvador, Wednesday.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a report from the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office of a missing man at approximately 2 a.m. The man reportedly boarded a 15-foot aluminum boat from Fisherman’s Wharf at Bayou Gauche at approximately 9 a.m. Tuesday to go hunting and was due to return by sunset. His boat reportedly became stuck in the mud in Bayou Gauche and then sank Tuesday afternoon. When he did not return home, his wife called the local authorities.
A Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew launched at approximately 4 a.m. and spotted a person in the marshes matching the description of a missing boater wearing a red flannel shirt. The aircrew safely hoisted the man and transported him to the air station in Belle Chasse.
The Coast Guard and St. Charles Parish sheriffs searched a 263 square-mile area for approximately six hours to locate the hunter.
“He managed to get on a muddy bank and started a brush fire to alert us,” said Lt. j.g. Brandt Allen, Air Station New Orleans pilot. “The smoke helped us locate him quickly; he was spot-on with his survivial skills.”
The Coast Guard recommends everyone file a float plan. Before you go out, leave information about your trip with a family member or friend who is staying on shore. Include all information that would help rescuers in case of emergency; how many people on board, where you are going, how long you will be out and a description of your boat. Like a life jacket, a float plan is a life-saving device on paper, which can make the difference in rescue and response time in the event of an emergency.