Coast Guard and partners rescue missing boat captain near Marathon, Fla.

KEY WEST, Fla. — The Coast Guard and partner agencies in the Florida Keys combined efforts to successfully rescue a missing 54-year-old fishing boat captain 16 nautical miles northwest of Marathon, Fla. Tuesday.

At 7:11 a.m. Tuesday, watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Key West received notification via VHF-FM Channel 16 of a missing fishing vessel captain approximately 11 nautical miles southwest of Cape Sable, Fla.

The 34-foot Fishing Vessel Julia, homeported in Marathon, departed with three persons onboard from 12th Street Marina in Marathonearly Tuesday morning, enroute to check their crab pots. As the two crew members of the fishing vessel slept, the captain continued to navigate the boat and at around 3:00 a.m. he put the vessel on autopilot. The crew last saw the captain at 4:00 a.m. but when they awoke at approximately 7:00 a.m. the captain was missing.

The Coast Guard responded immediately by issuing an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast, launching two small boats from Coast Guard Station Marathon, one small boat from Coast Guard Station Islamorada, and an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew and HC-25 Falcon from Coast Guard Air Station Miami to commence searching in the area.

The Fishing Vessel Lady Karen, out of the 12th Street Marina in Marathon, recovered the missing boat captain at 12:20 p.m. The U.S. National Park Service, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, and Good Samaritan vessels and aircraft from Marathon contributed to a coordinated search effort.

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