CLEVELAND — Coast Guard, state and local crews worked closely to rescue two people aboard an 18-foot boat on the upper Niagara River just south of Goat Island late Sunday night.
Just after 11 p.m. Sunday, watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Buffalo, New York, were notified by the operator of an 18-foot boat that they were disabled and adrift and required assistance. After receiving the GPS location from the operator, crews determined the vessel to be in the upper Niagara River and very close to the exclusion zone near Niagara Falls.
The vessel operator was directed to anchor immediately and by the time that was done, the vessel was well inside the exclusion zone and close to the Canadian falls.
A boat crew from Coast Guard Station Buffalo responded, but stopped at the exclusion zone boundary. New York State Park Police also responded, both on the water and from land, attempting to float the vessel a tow line.
Crews made contact with river control and requested the water levels to be lowered, which caused the disabled vessel to ground just south of Goat Island, where they were able to anchor and stop the vessel’s drift toward the falls. Shortly after, it was reported that the anchors were no longer holding and the boat was being held in place only by its engine’s lower unit.
An attempt was made by an aircrew from Erie County Air One to hoist the people from the boat, but crews were unsuccessful in their multiple attempts and had to stop due to safety concerns.
A Coast Guard MH65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit was requested by Sector Buffalo, but prior to the aircraft arriving on scene, NYSPP crews were able to successfully float a tow line to the vessel. Both persons were taken off the vessel safely and it was towed to shore.
There were no reports of injuries or pollution.