Coast Guard rescues two boaters in Everglades National Park

KEY WEST, Fla. — Coast Guard crews from Air Station Clearwater, Fla., located a 15-foot Carolina skiff with two men aboard early Sunday morning that had been reported overdue by a family member late Saturday night.

At approximately 10:40 p.m. Saturday night the Coast Guard received a report of an overdue skiff that departed from the Flamingo Marina in Everglades National Park. The reporting source stated the two people aboard were fishing but were unsure of their exact location.

Coast Guard crews responded immediately by diverting a Coast Guard C-130 from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., to conduct a shoreline search of the area for the boat and two men. The C-130 located the two men near their boat waving their arms at the aircraft. The C-130 was unable to establish communications with the men as they didn’t have a radio on board their boat.

The Coast Guard launched a MH-65 rescue helicopter from Air Station Miami who arrived on scene and established communications with the two by lowering their rescue swimmer from the helicopter to the boat. The rescue swimmer was able to determine that they were the two men from the original report and provided food and water for the boaters.

Park rangers from Everglades National Park launched a boat to attempt to assist the skiff but the water was too shallow for any boats to get to the distressed boaters.

The Coast Guard launched a second MH-65 rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Miami that arrived on scene, hoisted the two boaters, and took them to Flamingo Marina where their vehicle was located.

“These boaters ended up in a very shallow area of Everglades National Park without any form of effective communication equipment on board” said Capt. Pat DeQuattro, commander Coast Guard Sector Key West. “Fortunately we were able to locate and rescue them. Having a reliable means of communication on board is one of the many ways to avoid situations like this one.”

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