Coast Guard locates, rescues overdue family 15 miles west of Cedar Key

24 foot Special Purpose Craft - Shallow Water

USCG File Photo

YANKEETOWN, Fla. — The Coast Guard located and rescued three overdue boaters Tuesday aboard a disabled 18-foot fishing boat 15 miles west of Crystal River.

A concerned family member contacted Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg watch standers at 11:04 p.m. Monday via Citrus Country emergency 911 dispatch relay. She stated her family, a 71-year-old male, a 66-year-old female and a 40-year-old male had not returned from their fishing trip at the expected time.

A 27-foot Response Boat crew from Coast Guard Station Yankeetown and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Clearwater launched and the area’s Marine Emergency Response Team was activated. A boat crew from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission also responded to search.

The Jayhawk air crew made visual confirmation at 3:15 a.m. The boat crew arrived on scene at 5:36 a.m. and took the disabled boat in tow. The family was transferred to another boat crew aboard a 24-foot Response Boat from Station Yankeetown who transported them to EMS at Fort Island Trail Park.

Two of the three boaters were reported to suffer symptoms of hypothermia.

“Thankfully we had the last known cell phone ping, and our watch standers used that information to plot the search area,” said Lt. Jane Sarnecky, operations duty controller at Sector St. Petersburg. “I recommend all mariners file a complete float plan with a loved one before even leaving the dock. A float plan includes critical information search crews need in an emergency such as their intended destination, passenger information, time expected to return and vessel description.”

For more information on how to file a complete float plan, click here.

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