The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG ) rescued two people from a disabled boat near Niagara Falls late Monday night.
At about 9:15 p.m., a search-and-rescue (SAR) coordinator from USCG Sector Buffalo, New York, responded to a call for help from the boaters via cell phone. The distressed boater reported two people were aboard a disabled 19-foot boat, 700 yards inside the Niagara Falls Exclusion Zone. The boater also reported that the boat was anchored.
The Sector Buffalo SAR coordinator issued an urgent marine information broadcast, which broadcasts the location and nature of distress to mariners and asks who can offer help if they are able. The SAR coordinator also launched a rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Buffalo aboard a 25-foot response boat, and an air crew from USCG Air Station Detroit aboard a Dolphin helicopter, to assist the boaters.
Also responding were boat crews from New York State Parks Police, Erie County Sherriff’s Department and Erie County Air One. Ontario Power Authority and Niagara Mohawk Power Authority slowed the flow of the Niagara River as much as possible to assist in rescue efforts.
The USCG boat crew arrived at the edge of the exclusion zone at about 9:45 p.m., but could not proceed further due to water depth. A commercial salvage boat crew tried to get into the exclusion zone but became temporarily grounded before freeing itself.
At about 10:45 p.m., the Erie County Air One helicopter arrived overhead of the boaters and provided surveillance information to the incoming Coast Guard air crew. The Coast Guard air crew arrived on scene at about 11:30 p.m., and completed the rescue at 11:47 p.m. The air crew then transported the two boaters to the Niagara International Airport. Neither boater needed medical attention.
"The training that we do everyday prepared us for this rescue, and it felt great to successfully get these guys out of a tough, and I am sure, scary situation," said Lt. Cmdr. Jason Trichler, pilot of the Coast Guard rescue helicopter.
The owner of the vessel will coordinate salvage with a commercial service company Monday.