U.S., Canadian Coast Guards rescue 71-year-old man from aground boat in Lake Erie

Great Lakes Coast Guard NewsCLEVELAND — Rescue crews from the U.S. Coast Guard, Canadian Coast Guard and Air Force teamed together to rescue a stranded and distressed, 71-year-old male boater from Inner Bay in Lake Erie off the shores of Long Point, Ontario, Canada early this morning.

A search-and-rescue coordinator at Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton, Ontario, received a report of an overdue boater at 10:40 p.m. Tuesday from a local police station, who received the report from the missing man’s concerned daughter.

The reporting source stated that the boater was overdue and his boat, an 18-foot bass boat, had no radio and the man did not carry a cell phone. The search-and-rescue coordinator at JRCC Trenton immediately coordinated search efforts and directed the launch of the Cape Lambton, a 47-foot Canadian Coast Guard boat from Port Dover, Ontario, a CG-04 Inshore Rescue Boat inflatable from Booth’s Harbour, near Long Point, Ontario, and the Ontario Provincial Police marine boat. The JRCC then requested assistance from a rescue aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit. The MH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter crew launched at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The Coast Guard aircrew arrived at the designated search area at 2:30 a.m. and started their search. The aircrew located the missing man at 3:23 a.m. and then lowered a rescue swimmer to the grounded boat. The aircrew then left the scene, due to low fuel levels. As the helicopter flew to St. Thomas Municipal Airport in St. Thomas, Ontario, a Canadian Coast Guard boatcrew arrived on scene. The boatcrew towed the boat to shore and transported the man to Booth’s Harbour and took the rescue swimmer to the Long Point Lighthouse, where he was hoisted by an aircrew aboard a Canadian Griffon helicopter and taken to the St. Thomas Municipal Airport to meet up with the Air Station Detroit aircrew.

“This response is a superb example of how the U.S. and Canada work together to protect mariners in peril on either side of our shared maritime border,” said Capt. Stephen Torpey, chief of response, 9th Coast Guard District. “Any one agency, working independently, would have had a tougher time finding and rescuing this boater. With personnel at JRCC Trenton coordinating the search, the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards showed great teamwork, allowing for a much more coordinated and timely response.”

The Coast Guard always recommends boaters remain in contact with someone onshore and also file a float plan. Float plans do not have to be written or submitted anywhere, but as long as someone knows the general facts of a boater’s planned outing, they can report it to the proper authorities in case of an emergency.

The Coast Guard also recommends all boaters have a form of communication onboard their vessel, especially an operating VHF-FM marine radio because cell phone coverage can be unreliable on the water.

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