Coast Guard rescues 3 from life raft after fishing boat sinks

Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry file photo by Aux. Michael Dubin

Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry file photo by Aux. Michael Dubin

NAPLES, Fla. — The Coast Guard rescued three men from a life raft Monday after a 32-foot fishing boat sank 90 miles west of Naples.

Rescued were Madeira Beach natives, Terry Britton, 58, and Patrick Leoni, 43, and St. Petersburg native Kyle Haskins, 29.

At 1:52 a.m. Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg watchstanders received mayday calls from an unknown source. Two cruise ships, the Rotterdam and Norwegian Pearl, also reported hearing the mayday calls near their locations. The Norwegian Pearl was diverted to assist. A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, and an HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Miami were launched to respond.

At 2:28 a.m. Seventh District, Miami, watchstanders received notification from an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon registered to the 32-foot fishing boat Miss Saturia. St. Petersburg watchstanders contacted the owner of the boat, James Glover, who reported the three men had taken the boat for a fishing trip.

At 4:04 a.m. the Ocean Sentry crew arrived on scene and spotted strobe lights. The Coast Guard flight crews also spotted red flares and located the three men. The Jayhawk crew hoisted and transferred the men to the air station where EMS awaited. There were no reported injuries.

“They did everything correctly,” said Lt. Tyler Dewechter, one of the Jayhawk pilots. “The men were familiar with their safety equipment including strobe lights, EPIRB, flares and the life raft. They knew where the equipment was located, which allowed for our quick response.”

Haskins told the pilots they had been in the water for more than two hours, but had been trained for the situation.

“They knew what to do,” said Dewechter.

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