Coast Guard rescues fisherman moments before boat sinks

Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopterCLEARWATER, Fla. — The Coast Guard rescued a fisherman Thursday from a 12-foot dinghy less than a mile west of Fort De Soto.

At 7:48 p.m. watch standers from Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received two mayday calls via VHF-FM marine band radio channel 16 from a man stating he was beset by weather, taking on water and in need of emergency assistance.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater was diverted, and the area’s Marine Emergency Response Team was activated.

“This could of been a tragic situation,” said Lt. Matthew Mayer, an MH-60 Jayhawk pilot from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater. “Thankfully the fisherman had a working VHF radio so he could alert us of the distress immediately and we were able to rescue him in time; however, I recommend all boaters pay close attention to the local forecast before even leaving the dock.”

The Jayhawk crew arrived on scene at 8:46 p.m., hoisted the man before his boat capsized and transported him to Air Station Clearwater at 9:15 p.m. in stable condition. No injuries were reported.

Sector St. Petersburg watch standers have been dealing with a steady stream of suspected or confirmed hoax radio calls along the Gulf Coast, and this is obviously not one of them. Hoax calls divert our resources from real calls like this. Please help us identify the hoax callers in the Cape Coral area by clicking here.

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