Good Samaritan rescues 4 adults from Lake Erie

CLEVELAND – A Good Samaritan boater rescued four adults from Lake Erie, about 8 miles north of Presque Isle, Pennsylvania, and the Coast Guard transported the boaters safely to shore Friday morning.

At about 9:20 a.m., a search-and-rescue coordinator from Coast Guard Sector Buffalo, New York, responded to a mayday call over VHF-FM radio channel 16 from the operator of a 25-foot pleasure craft reporting that his boat was taking on water and they could not keep up with the flooding. The boat operator relayed his position to the Coast Guard and said there were four people aboard the boat.

The SAR coordinator directed the immediate launch of Coast Guard assets from Coast Guard Station Erie, Pennsylvania, and Coast Guard Air Station Detroit. He also issued an urgent marine information broadcast, broadcasting the situation and position to nearby boaters who may be able to assist.

A fisherman in the area responded within 10 minutes and pulled all four people out of the water. The Good Samaritan watched the distress situation unfold as he was pulling in nets and responded as fast as possible.

A boat crew from Station Erie arrived on scene about 5 minutes later and the rescued boaters were taken aboard the 45-foot response boat and transferred to shore.

“We always encourage boaters to assist each other if possible, but only if they feel safe in doing so. In this case the quick response saved four peoples’ lives,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Timothy O’Brien, coxswain of the 45-foot response boat. “That’s one of the reasons we encourage boaters to carry a VHF-FM Marine Radio – it communicates your distress to nearby boaters as well as to the Coast Guard. A cell phone won’t do that.”

Local emergency medical services did not identify any medical concerns after evaluating the rescued boaters at the Wolverine Park Marina.

The boat sank in 67 feet of water. Sector Buffalo pollution responders are evaluating any possible pollution concerns. The sinking was reported to the National Response Center.

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