Coast Guard Rescues 4 From Sinking Vessel

MIAMI – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Key Biscayne rescued four fishermen from the vessel Madame Glenda, a 42-foot, fishing vessel that had struck an unknown object and sank Saturday morning approximately 53 miles northwest of Key West, Fla.

Search and rescue coordinators at Coast Guard Sector Key West Command Center received a call over VHF Channel 16 from a Good Samaritan at approximately 8 p.m., Friday relaying a distress call from the captain of the Madame Glenda. The Good Samaritan stated the Madame Glenda’s captain said his vessel had struck an object and was taking on water. The Madame Glenda is homeported in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Coast Guard immediately diverted an HU-25 Falcon jet and launched an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter, both from Air Station Miami. The 110-foot Coast Guard Cutter Key Biscayne was diverted from its patrol to also assist.

The Falcon crew located the Madame Glenda at 9 p.m. and dropped two dewatering pumps to the fishermen. The Madame Glenda’s crew had problems with both pumps. The helicopter crew arrived shortly thereafter to provide aerial support. At about 10:30 p.m. the Key Biscayne arrived on scene, provided two more pumps, and assisted in the rescue.

Crewmembers from the Key Biscayne went aboard the Madame Glenda and made numerous attempts throughout the evening to stop the flow of water, including using a tarp to try and mend the six-foot by three-foot gash in the hull. The decision was made to take the fishermen off the vessel at 5:15 a.m., Saturday as efforts to save the ship were unsuccessful. The captain of the Madame Glenda stated he closed all the valves on the vessel before disembarking to help prevent any pollution from entering the water.

The Key Biscayne is currently enroute Sector Key West with the fishermen from the Madame Glenda and is scheduled to arrive at 1:30 p.m.

“This could have been a real tragedy,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Bernice Paver, a search-and-rescue duty officer at Sector Key West. “The crew of the Madame Glenda was very fortunate there was a Good Samaritan close by and was able to relay vital information to the Coast Guard.”

The Key Biscayne is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in St. Petersburg, Fla.

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