Coast Guard rescues 3 overdue boaters offshore Empire, La.

Published 6:32 am Monday, October 10, 2022

NEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard rescued three overdue boaters Sunday, approximately 25 miles offshore from Empire, Louisiana.

Coast Guard Sector New Orleans watchstanders received a report of overdue boaters from a concerned family member after the boaters did not return from a fishing trip Saturday evening. Watchstanders coordinated the launch of several Coast Guard air and boat crews to search an area spanning approximately 1,250 square miles.

During the search of the area, a Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew located all three boaters in the water.

A Coast Guard Station Venice 45-foot Response-Boat Medium boatcrew arrived on scene and witnessed two of the boaters fending off sharks, along with injuries to both boater’s hands. The two boaters were pulled from the water by the boatcrew before additional injuries could occur.

A Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew hoisted the third boater from the water. The two boaters recovered by the Venice boatcrew were transferred to the Jayhawk helicopter before being transferred to University Medical Center New Orleans, where the boaters were reported in stable condition.

All three boaters were wearing lifejackets and one was experiencing signs of hypothermia at the time of the rescue. Their 24-foot center console boat reportedly sank at approximately 10 a.m. Saturday morning, stranding them without communication devices.

“We searched an area roughly the size of Rhode Island and are thankful to have found these missing boaters,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Keefe, a Sector New Orleans Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator. “If the family member had not notified the Coast Guard, and if these three boaters were not wearing life jackets, this could’ve been a completely different outcome. We appreciate the assistance of the boating public, who were instrumental in helping identify possible areas where these boaters could have been operating before the vessel became in distress.”

Involved in the search and rescue effort were:

• A Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew
• A Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew
• A Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew
• Coast Guard Cutter Jacob Paroo crew
• Coast Guard Station Venice boatcrew

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