A U.S. Coast Guard boatcrew rescued four people approximately 30 miles south of Cape San Blas, Fla., Friday.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Station Panama City, Fla., received a report of a 55-foot fishing vessel, the CBS, taking on water 30 miles South of Cape San Blas with four people aboard. The vessel operator originally made a distress phone call to his wife using his satellite phone, who then subsequently relayed the information to the Coast Guard.
Coast Guard Sector Mobile issued an urgent marine information broadcast and launched a 45-foot response boat out of Station Panama City and an HC-144 Ocean Sentry fixed-wing aircraft from Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile.
Two good Samaritan vessels heard the UMIB and began transiting to offer assistance. An E-9 fixed-wing aircraft out of Tyndall Air Force Base was first on-scene and shortly after, the HC-144 aircrew arrived and air-dropped a handheld radio to the vessel to establish reliable communications.
All four donned their lifejackets, got inside their life raft and took their emergency position indicator radio beacons with them. Fifteen minutes after abandoning ship into the life raft, the Jean Marie arrived on scene and removed all four from the life raft. All were transferred to the Coast Guard vessel and taken back to Station Panama City.
“The Coast Guard’s persistent presence on waterways enables fast, flexible response to crises like these,” said Capt. Joe Snowden. “Since the fishermen had all the necessary safety gear on board like life jackets, a life raft, an EPIRB and a satellite phone, we were able to conduct this case quickly and efficiently, and ultimately, returned four people to their families today.”