Coast Guard rescues 4 from sinking vessel off Florida Keys

1 passenger required emergency medical treatment
Four people rescues from boat adrift south of Dry Tortugas National Park. Feb. 19, 2024.png
Posted at 9:02 PM, Feb 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-19 21:02:03-05

MIAMI — The U.S. Coast Guard rescued four people from a sinking boat about 35 nautical miles south of Dry Tortugas National Park early Monday morning.

They were rescued amid heavy seas and weather from a passing storm after an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon was activated on board their vessel.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard’s Seventh District Command Center and Sector Key West diverted the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Charles David, Jr. toward the boat's position. An MH-65 "Dolphin" helicopter crew out of Coast Guard Air Station Miami was also launched to the scene.

The air and cutter crews reached the sinking boat shortly after midnight Monday.

The Coast Guard lowered a swimmer from the helicopter to the sinking boat

One passenger aboard required emergency medical attention but heavy seas prevented the air crew from hosting the person directly to the helicopter.

The crew of the Charles David, Jr., launched a small boat to transfer all individuals off the sinking boat and brought\ them to the cutter.

The passenger requiring emergency treatment was hoisted to the aircraft and flown to Lower Keys Medical Center in Key West for further treatment. The other three people were brought back to Key West aboard the cutter.

"We were fortunate to be able to rescue four people and bring them to shore safely, today,” Capt. Jason Ingram, Sector Commander at U.S. Coast Guard Sector Key West said. "These were extremely challenging conditions to conduct a rescue operation in. I urge all mariners to frequently check their safety gear and monitor weather forecasts from reliable sources like the National Weather Service. Four lives were saved today due to the quick actions from our Coast Guard crews and because the mariners had an EPIRB onboard that pinpointed the distress location.”

The vessel remains adrift at sea. Sector Key West has issued a Special Marine Information Broadcast alerting boaters in the area to the adrift vessel.