Four missing Lake Erie boaters found alive

MONROE, Mich. – Four overdue boaters, missing since yesterday, were found alive near Middle Sister Island at approximately 5:45 p.m. Friday.

Monroe Country Sheriffs located a capsized vessel and four people in the water. They were later identified as Douglas Whittaker, Roy Letson, Larry Vert and Ron Miller, the four missing fishermen. U.S. Coast Guard, Canadian Coast Guard, and Monroe, Lucas and Ottawa County Sheriffs search-and-rescue assets had been looking for the fishermen since approximately 10 p.m. Thursday.

The men showed signs of hypothermia and will be transported by the Monroe County Sheriffs to Bolles Harbor, Mich., where local emergency medical services will be standing by.

This successful rescue effort demonstrates the vital cooperation of local, state, federal and Canadian agencies working together to keep boaters safe on the Great Lakes.

The search area covered the entire western basin of Lake Erie.

The four overdue boaters had filed a float plan, leaving information with family indicating when they were departing, where they were going and when they were expecting to be back in port.

“These boaters had done the right thing by filing a float plan,” said Lt. Wade Hedinger, Coast Guard Sector Detroit. “The men also stayed with their vessel, which aided in locating them.”

The Coast Guard would like to remind all boaters that filing a float plan is a crucial element of boating safety.

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