Lifejackets help save 9 after vessel capsizes near Key West, Fla.

MIAMI — Nine people were rescued from the water by Coast Guard crews after their boat capsized 18 miles southwest of Key West, Fla., Sunday.

At approximately 1:30 p.m. watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Key West, Florida received a distress call from passengers aboard a 25-foot sports craft vessel stating they were disabled and had no GPS onboard.

After communicating with the people aboard the vessel, Coast Guard watchstanders were able to obtain an approximate position based on information passed over the radio and a Line of Bearing received from the Rescue 21 system. Coast Guard Station Key West launched a smallboat crew to assist.

The 25-foot vessel later notified Coast Guard watchstanders they were taking on water and required immediate assistance. The nine people aboard the vessel were instructed to put on their lifejackets and wait for Coast Guard crews to arrive.

A C-130 aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Florida was diverted and located the vessel capsized and the nine people in the water. The C-130 aircraft vectored in the smallboat crew to the position.

The smallboat crew arrived on scene and was able to safely rescue all nine people in the water. One person suffered a leg laceration and was transferred to waiting EMS crews at Station Key West.

“The Coast Guard urges boaters to always wear lifejackets while underway,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Perkins, a watchstander at Coast Guard Sector Key West. “By having a marine radio and lifejackets onboard, the vessel operator’s preparedness contributed to the success of the response.”

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