Coast Guard rescues 4 from a life raft 69 miles west of St. Petersburg

Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 file photo

Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 file photo

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew rescued four survivors from a life raft Monday after their fishing vessel “Right Stuff” sank 69 miles west of St. Petersburg.

Rescued were: Matt Whites, 42, Heather Whites, 40, Nicole Mendez, 22, and Mickey Maguire, 26.

The aircrew arrived on scene, hoisted the survivors aboard the aircraft and transported them to Air Station Clearwater where Emergency Medical Services personnel awaited.

“This event highlights the importance of having proper survival gear and the thorough preparation by the crew of the vessel,” said, Lt. Cmdr. Jason Maddux, Jayhawk helicopter pilot at Air Station Clearwater. “Having lifejackets, and a liferaft was critical for the survival of these four individuals.”

Coast Guard 7th District command center watchstanders received an Emergency Positioning Indicating Radio Beacon distress signal from the sinking fishing vessel before its occupants abandoned the vessel and embarked on a life raft.

Watchstanders directed the launch of an Air Station Clearwater Jayhawk helicopter to locate the boaters and issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast to alert marine traffic in the area. A good Samaritan vessel received the UMIB and remained on scene during the rescue monitoring the situation and ready to provide rescue assistance.

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