INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Wind-driven high seas and cold weather sent boat crews from the U.S. Coast Guard and Indian River County Fire Rescue into the Atlantic Ocean early Sunday morning to rescue the crews of two vessels in distress offshore of Sebastian Inlet.
The Coast Guard station in Fort Pierce received a distress call about 2:30 a.m. from a motorized barge in trouble about two miles offshore. Three men had abandoned the vessel, boarding a life raft in 6 to 8 foot seas and sustained winds of about 25 miles per hour, Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Holmes said.
The Coast Guard and Fire Rescue both launched boats and the fire crew reached the men's raft first. Holmes said the men, whose names and home port were not immediately available, were taken to Indian River Medical Center in Vero Beach to be checked for hypothermia – the wind chill factor was near freezing early Sunday morning.
Holmes said moments after cancellation of the barge call, Coast Guard crews were dispatched to a nearby distress signal from two men on a 36-foot sailboat. The vessel, which identified its home port as Indian River County, reported being disabled and adrift. Holmes said the boat had a torn sail and no auxiliary motor power.
The Coast Guard crew took the sailboat in tow behind their 45-foot motor vessel and delivered it to Harbortown Marina in Fort Pierce. No injuries were reported in that incident, Holmes said.
A photo of the barge was sent in by YouReporter: HutcH