Cruise Ships Help USCG Find Survivors from Sinking Fishing Boat
With assistance from two cruise ships, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued three survivors after a fishing boat went down on Monday off Naples, Florida.
At 0152 hours on Monday, Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received several mayday calls from an unknown vessel. The cruise ships Rotterdam and Norwegian Pearl received the same calls near their positions in the Caribbean, helping to narrow the possible location of the vessel in distress. The Norwegian Pearl diverted to assist with a search for the source of the mayday, and a Coast Guard Ocean Sentry SAR plane and a Jayhawk rescue helicopter launched to the area.
At 0228, Coast Guard watchstanders in Miami received an EPIRB distress signal from a beacon registered to a small fishing boat, the Miss Saturia. Sector St. Petersburg contacted the boat's owner and learned that three men had taken it out on a fishing trip. The EPIRB signal appeared to correspond to the mayday call.
At 0404, the Ocean Sentry passed over the EPIRB's location, and the aircrew saw strobes and red flares on the surface. The helicopter aircrew arrived shortly after and hoisted three survivors - identified as Terry Britton, 58, Patrick Leoni, 43, and Kyle Haskins, 29 - from an inflatable life raft.
"They did everything correctly," said Lt. Tyler Dewechter, one of the helicopter pilots. "The men were familiar with their safety equipment including strobe lights, EPIRB, flares and the life raft. They knew where the equipment was located, which allowed for our quick response."