Off-duty Coast Guard helicopter pilot rescues 2 people after boat sinks

A Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office marine unit prepares to transfer two survivors to a Sanibel Fire Rescue boat crew after a 22-foot boat sank near John’s Pass, Florida, Saturday, Aug. 25. An off-duty Coast Guard helicopter pilot and his family rescued the couple from the water. (Courtesy photo)

A Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office marine unit prepares to transfer two survivors to a Sanibel Fire Rescue boat crew after a 22-foot boat sank near John’s Pass, Florida, Saturday, Aug. 25. (Courtesy photo)

CLEARWATER, Fla. — An off-duty Coast Guard helicopter pilot and his family rescued two people from the water Saturday near John’s Pass.

Rescued were a 51-year-old Clearwater man and a 39-year-old woman from Seminole.

Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Justin Pacheco, an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter pilot from Air Station Clearwater, was out on his 21-foot boat with his family when he noticed something.

“We came around a corner, and I saw a blue stripe going up in the air,” said Pacheco. “It was the nose of the boat. I thought, that doesn’t look right.”

He said the 22-foot boat capsized within 10 seconds, leaving two people in the water. Immediately, Pacheco and his family dialed 911 and went to work.

Pacheco navigated his boat to the two people, and helped pull them out of the water. He explained, “That’s what any boater would do.”

A Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office marine unit, and a Seminole Fire Rescue boat crew also responded.

Seminole Fire Rescue transported the couple to Medeira Beach Marina. There were no reported injuries.

The 22-foot boat currently poses a hazard to navigation. The owner of the 22-foot boat is working with commercial salvage to remove the boat. Mariners are requested to keep a sharp lookout for all possible hazards to navigation, and listen to local notice to mariners broadcasts for hazard updates. Local notice to mariners is broadcasted twice daily via VHF-FM marine band radio.

 

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