TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The U.S. Coast Guard rescued a mother and two children nearly 100 miles off the Pasco County coast after their boat became disabled on Sunday.
According to the Coast Guard, four people were on a boat caught in choppy seas and worsening weather conditions 96 miles off Anclote Island.
Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater sent a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to respond to the call. Video captured from the helicopter showed the boat rocking back and forth over huge waves.
“The swells really started to rock them, so the mass was swaying all over the place and they were definitely being whipped around,” said Lt. Lt. Bayley Olds, a co-pilot on the rescue mission.
Crews lifted a woman and two children, ages 3 and 12, to safety. The vessel owner stayed with the boat, and is working with the Coast Guard to get back to shore.
The Coast Guard said the woman and children did not need medical attention and were taken back to the air station, where they were picked up by family.
“This successful rescue was made possible by the quick response and effective communication between our rescue crews and the vessel’s master,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Claudia Kearn, Sector St. Petersburg command center watchstander. “It is essential for all mariners to have and use a VHF-FM radio in case of an emergency. This allows rescue crews to establish a clear and direct line of communication, which can be critical in a crisis situation.”
“Nobody ever wants to go through an experience like that, but as an air crew, we’re definitely fortunate to be able to go out and help those people. They seemed to be in good spirits that they were off the boat and they had family coming to pick them up. So it feels good to help,” said Lt. Olds.
The Coast Guard reminds boaters to always be vigilant about safety and to check conditions before heading out to sea.