Coast Guard, good Samaritan rescue 4 fishermen near Tarpon Springs, Fla

Southeastern Coast Guard NewsTARPON SPRINGS, Fla. — Four fishermen were rescued by the Coast Guard and a good Samaritan after their 34-foot fishing boat sank 14 miles west of Tarpon Springs, Friday.

Pasco County 911 dispatch contacted watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg at 10 a.m., stating they received a call from one of the four fishermen via cellular phone who reported their position before they sank and were disconnected.

Watchstanders diverted an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, launched a 45-foot Response Boat — Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Sand Key and diverted the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Alligator to assist. The Jayhawk crew spotted two mariners wearing life jackets and clinging to a cooler at 12:54 p.m.

The aircrew pulled them from the water and transferred them to the air station. Shortly after, a good Samaritan found a third fisherman and brought him aboard. Surface rescue crews continued to search for about an hour before the Jayhawk crew, who rescued the first two, returned to the scene to find the fourth fisherman at 1:45 p.m. The aircrew immediately hoisted him and transferred him to the air station.

”It is extremely fortunate that we were able to locate these four men,” said Lt. j.g. Mike Roberts, a Sector St. Petersburg search and rescue coordinator. “Having distress indicating devices like an emergency position indicating radio beacon or a VHF-FM radio would have greatly aided the speed of response and rescue, because these devices pin-point the position of distress.”

All three fishermen were treated for different degrees of hypothermia; however, one of them was transported via emergency medical service for further care.

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