Five Men Rescued From Gambling Boat

JACKSONVILLE , Fla. – The Coast Guard rescued five men from a powerless vessel that had anchored after it broke away from its tow 17-miles east of St. Augustine, Fla., Saturday afternoon.

James Weathers, 31, and John Sherman, 61, of Bonsecour, Ala. , Nicholas Low, 23, Sexton Townsend, 47, and Baldeo Seemuhgal, 45, of Trinidad, were aboard the gambling vessel Sun Cruz 9 as it departed Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Friday, enroute to Jacksonville for repairs. While in transit, the Sun Cruz 9 became disabled and arrangements were made to have the 79-foot motor vessel Pim Kim Sea King, tow the Sun Cruz 9 the rest of the way to Jacksonville. Late Friday evening the tow line parted, leaving the five men on the disabled gambling ship in rough seas. They managed to anchor the vessel to keep it from drifting and contacted the Coast Guard for assistance. The Coast Guard launched a helicopter from Air Station Savannah, Ga., to rescue the five men.

“This was one of the most challenging tasks of my career. But we were able to get everyone off safely,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Samuel Ariola, a rescue swimmer from Air Station Savannah who rescued all five men. “The crew was very happy to get off that boat and back onto land.”

On scene weather at the time of the rescue included seas of approximately 10-feet and wind gusts of up to 40 knots.

All five men were brought to the St. Augustine airport in good condition.

The vessel owner is responsible for making arrangements to bring the vessel in to port safely.

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