U.S. Coast Guard air crew assists Canadian Coast Guard locate overdue boater

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CLEVELAND — A U.S. Coast Guard air crew assisted the Canadian Coast Guard in locating an overdue boater early Monday morning in the vicinity of Bassett Island in northeastern Lake St. Clair.

The Coast Guard is not releasing the man’s name, as they were assisting Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton, Ontario.

Just before midnight Sunday, a search-and-rescue controller at the Coast Guard 9th District command center, was contacted by a SAR controller at JRCC Trenton, requesting assistance with locating an overdue boater, who was last known to be setting fish nets in Lake St. Clair. The boater, a 60-year-old man, reportedly left shore in an 18-foot aluminum boat at 5:30 p.m., and was due to return by 7:30 p.m.

At 12:45 a.m., a conference call was held between the 9th District SAR controller, JRCC Trenton SAR controller and the Coast Guard Air Station Detroit command to discuss the case and communications plan.

At 1 a.m., the 9th District’s command center and JRCC were notified that a U.S. Customs and Border Protection boat crew had launched to assist with the search.

An air crew aboard an MH-65C Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Detroit, located on Selfridge Air National Guard Base in the Northern suburbs of Detroit, launched at 1:14 a.m. The air crew arrived on scene to start their search at 1:24 a.m., and located the boat at 1:43 a.m., beached on Bassett Island.

The air crew vectored in a Canadian Coast Guard boat crew to the location of the stranded boater. The boater was rescued by the Canadian boat crew at 2:04 a.m. The man was cold but in good health and was transported back to his home by the local police department.

“This case had a successful outcome for several reasons — the boater had left behind a float plan; the great communication between U.S. and Canadian SAR controllers; and the teamwork of all the agencies and units involved in the search,” said Capt. Nicholas Bartolotta, chief of response at the Coast Guard 9th District. “However, many boaters can prevent much of the worry they cause loved ones by being prepared for an emergency and carrying a reliable means of communication.”

This collaborative effort between U.S. and Canadian forces was the second successful search-and-rescue case conducted with in a 12-hour period. An Air Station Detroit helicopter crew airlifted an ill man from a 730-foot Canadian-flagged ship Sunday afternoon.

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