Two missing boaters near Hammock Creek found safe

USCG HH-60 file photo

ARIPEKA, Fla. – A 40-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman that were reported missing while boating in the vicinity of Hammock Creek near Apripeka, Fla., Monday, have been found safe.

At 10:07 a.m., Allen Norfleet and Melissa Wells were spotted by a good Samaritan south of the mouth of Hammock Creek, and taken back to shore where they were able to notify the Coast Guard and their family that they were safe.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Station Yankeetown, Fla., received a call Monday at approximately 9 p.m., from a man stating that his brother and girlfriend had not returned after departing for their boating trip at 1 p.m.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, Fla., diverted an 18-foot Shallow Water Response boat crew from Station Yankeetown, and launched an Air Station Clearwater, Fla., MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew.

Crews arrived on scene at 10:14 p.m. Monday and searched for Norfleet and Wells, who were last seen leaving a boat ramp in Hammock Creek at 1 p.m. Monday.

Along with the Coast Guard, marine units from the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission assisted in the search.

The Coast Guard reminds boaters that the proper emergency equipment, including a marine band radio, lifejackets, emergency signaling devices, and filing a float plan, are essential to keeping safe on the water.

Instructions for filing a float plan can be found at http://www.floatplancentral.org/

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