Station Islamorada rescues 4 from sinking vessel

KEY WEST, Fla. – The Coast Guard rescued four boaters from a sinking 72-foot vessel Saturday, 10 miles southeast of Long Key, Fla.

Coast Guard Sector Key West, watchstanders received a call at 9:20 a.m. from vessel Miss Suzanne, reporting the vessel was taking on water due to instability from a broken outrigger.

A 33-foot rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Islamorada, Fla., and a Coast Guard Auxiliary aircraft were launched and arrived on scene at approximately 11:30 a.m. Once the opposite outrigger was lowered, the vessel gained stability and stopped taking on water.

The vessel was originally headed for the Bahamas but decided to return to Marathon, Fla., to conduct repairs when the generator and bilge pumps lost power. Coast Guard Cutter Nantucket and Station Islamorada crewmembers were then diverted to assist the vessel.

A dewatering pump was passed to the vessel, but was ineffective in dewatering the vessel. At approximately 5 p.m., Coast Guard crewmembers removed the four boaters from the sinking vessel and transported them to Coast Guard small boat from Station Islamorada. There were no medical concerns among the four boaters.

Coast Guard Cutter Nantucket towed the sinking vessel away from the sanctuary to prevent damage to the sanctuary and will continue to monitor the situation.

Coast Guard assets involved with the response included:

  • Crewmembers from Coast Guard Station Marathon.
  • Crewmembers from Coast Guard Station Islamorada.
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Nantucket, a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in St. Petersburg, Fla.
  • A Coast Guard Auxiliary aircrew from Key West.

Coast Guard Sector Key West, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission all worked closely together to prevent any damage to the reef.

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