Coast Guard rescues three, good sam rescues one other from capsized boat

ERIE, Pa. – U.S. Coast Guard Station Erie and a Good Samaritan rescued three males and one female from a capsized boat two miles offshore the entrance to the Erie Channel Sunday at approximately 10:30 a.m.

“They were clinging to the hull; two of them had life jackets and two did not,” said Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Bill Campbell, 47-foot motor lifeboat (MLB) coxswain. “We transferred the male from the good sam boat and brought him aboard with the other three.”

“He had apparently been in the water for about two hours, but the good sam was able to see him waving his arms in a Coast Guard Auxiliary life jacket,” said Campbell.

The 47-footer crew transported the four, who ranged in ages from 35 to 45, to awaiting Emergency Medical Services for delivery to Hamot Hospital in Erie.

After rescuing two males and a female, Campbell and his crew received a call via channel 16 on VHF radio from a good sam at approximately 9:30 a.m.Sunday, who said they rescued a man who said he had been in the water for a long time.

Following a creeping line search to locate and rendevous with the good sam, the 47-footer crew saw his red flare and brought the fourth person from the capsized boat aboard.

Two of the four experienced possible shock and signs of hypothermia.

A 25-foot small response boat crew from Erie and an HH-65C helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit assisted with the initial search.

The Coast Guard requires all recreational boats to carry one wearable PFD (Type I, II, III or Type V PFD) for each person aboard. Any boat 16 feet and longer (except canoes and kayaks) must also carry one throwable PFD (Type IV PFD).

The law states you must have a PFD on board, but the Coast Guard recommends you wear your PFD at all times when boating. It is much more difficult to locate, access or don a PFD at the moment the accident occurs.

Additional information on life jackets (PFDs), can be found at

Additonally, the Coast Guard encourages boaters to invest in a VHF-FM radio as their primary means of alerting distress on the water. Communication via VHF-FM radio provides superior alerting capabilities over cellular phones. A person in distress is only a call away from help.

Signaling Devices such as day/night flares are another means of alerting the Coast Guard, local marine patrol or nearby boaters that you are in distress.

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