Coast Guard rescues boater taking on water near Lake Pontchartrain

Published 1:55 pm Saturday, June 12, 2021

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NEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard rescued a boater Saturday whose vessel capsized after taking on water in Lake Pontchartrain.

Rescued was James McGhee, who was transferred to University Medical Center in reportedly fair condition.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a distress call around 2 a.m. from McGhee who said that his vessel was taking on water in Lake Pontchartrain, between the Highway 90 bridge and the I-10 Twin Span. A Coast Guard Station New Orleans 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew and a Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-65 Dolphin Helicopter aircrew deployed in response.

The crews located McGhee stranded on a jetty in Slidell after he had swam away from his capsized vessel. The aircrew embarked him onto the helicopter and transferred him to University Medical Center, where he was treated for symptoms of shock and hypothermia.

“Mr. McGhee’s access to a VHF radio saved his life,” said Cmdr. Brook Serbu, search and rescue mission coordinator at Sector New Orleans. “It is important that all mariners have access to a communication device in case of emergency, and preferably more than one such as a radio and cell phone.”

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