CLEARWATER –– A 50-year-old man was rescued in the Gulf of Mexico on Monday after his sailboat's engine and rudder failed, the U.S. Coast Guard said. [ video ]
The Coast Guard rescued the man 18 miles west of Clearwater Beach. The boater departed from Hudson at 7 a.m. Sunday on his way to Palmetto. It wasn't until 10:55 p.m. on Sunday that the Coast Guard's St. Petersburg sector was notified of a possible missing boater.
The man's father told the Coast Guard that his son was overdue. The son told his father he had been dealing with engine problems near Hurricane Pass. The men had last talked at 6:30 p.m., the Coast Guard said.
At 11:05 p.m., the Coast Guard launched air crews aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and an HC-130 Hercules airplane from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater and a crew aboard 45-foot response boat from Coast Guard Station Sand Key, officials said.
The Hercules air crew spotted the disabled and adrift sailboat at about 8:30 a.m. on Monday. The helicopter crew lowered a rescue swimmer on the boat to assess the situation. The rescue boat towed the disabled sailboat back to Clearwater Marina.
Officials declined to release the boater's name. The Coast Guard called the rescue a "prime example of fantastic teamwork."
"This could have quickly turned into a dangerous situation," said Chief Petty Officer William Wells, a command duty officer at Sector St. Petersburg. "Fortunately, we were able to locate this boater before any serious health and safety concerns became an issue."
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Source : Tampa Bay News