ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Five people were rescued Saturday in two separate incidents near Anclote and Indian Rocks Beach, U.S. Coast Guard officials say.
According to the Coast Guard, watchstanders received an urgent call from a man who could not find his two friends who were diving off his boat about seven miles west of Anclote. They issued an urgent marine information broadcast and launched a small boat crew and MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew.
Two separate good Samaritan boat crews also responded, found the divers, and brought them aboard their vessels.
In the second incident, the Coast Guard says watchstanders received a “MAYDAY” call over the radio and a report from a boater who saw orange distress flares. The watchstanders issued another urgent marine information broadcast and launched a small boat crew and MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew.
The good Samaritan who saw the flares helped pull three people to safety from a capsized boat about 22 miles west of Indian Rocks Beach.
“Good Samaritans are incredibly great assets, especially in cases where the Coast Guard or other responders are not in the immediate area,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Brian Haley, a Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg operations unit watchstander. “We are so grateful for the good news of these rescues today and the great work of these outstanding good Samaritans.”
The Coast Guard wants to remind boaters to be safe on the water and to have essential items, such as a marine radio, life vests and flares, onboard their vessel before heading out for the day.