Coast Guard rescues 7 from grounded vessel, escorts 8 to safety

ST. PETERSBURG., Fla. – The Coast Guard rescued seven people from a 27-foot grounded vessel, and escorted a 17-foot vessel to safety after crews responded to a distress call early Monday.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Station Sand Key, in Clearwater, Fla., received a distress call, via 911 transfer, at approximately 11:30 p.m.., reporting two vessels were in distress and needed assistance, approximately five miles north of Clearwater, Fla.

Anthony Soto, residence unknown, called 911 after the 17-foot Bayliner vessel he was on, along with three other adults and four children, became stranded near Three Rookers Bar. In addition, he reported a 27-foot Chris Craft vessel with nine people onboard, was also in need of assistance after running aground nearby.

In response, a Coast Guard Station Sand Key 24-foot Special Purpose Craft – Shallow Water (SPC-SW) crew launched at 12:00 a.m., arriving on scene at approximately 12:47 a.m.

A Pinellas County Fire Rescue crew also responded to the area, after a distress flare released from one of the vessels caused a small fire on the nearby Three Rookers Bar.

The crew evacuated seven people from the Chris Craft and safely transported them, while escorting the Bayliner, to the Seminole Boat Ramp.

Two additional passengers aboard the Chris Craft have remained behind, and are awaiting a tidal shift to help free their grounded vessel. The Coast Guard continues to monitor the vessel.

All passengers are reported to be in good condition.

The Coast Guard reminds all boaters that in the event of a maritime emergency, the use of a float plan, VHF radio, life jackets and an Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon are critical on the waterways.

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