EMPIRE, La. (WGNO)— Three boaters were rescued Sunday (Oct. 1) after their boat sank off the shores of Empire during a fishing trip.
U.S. Coast Guard officials say they were notified of the missing boaters after worried family members notified them that they have not heard from them. Soon after the report, a search was conducted spanning approximately 1,250 square miles.
During the search, an aircrew spotted all three boaters in the water. A Coast Guard Station Venice 45-foot Response-Boat Medium boat crew arrived on the scene and found two of the boaters fending off sharks, along with injuries to both boaters’ hands. The two boaters were pulled from the water by the boat crew right away.
According to a press release, a Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew rescued the third boater from the water. The boaters were all taken to University Medical Center where they were reported to be in stable condition.
Through investigation, Coast Guard officials determined that the boat sank around 10 a.m. on Saturday morning. All three boaters were wearing lifejackets and one was experiencing signs of hypothermia at the time of the rescue.
Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Keefe, a Sector New Orleans Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator said he is glad the boaters were wearing life jackets.
FULL VIDEO: Coast Guard rescues boaters from shark-infested water
“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,” said Keefe.