A Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-60 Jayhawk hovers over their rescue swimmer during a rescue Sunday, approximately 25 miles offshore from Empire, Louisiana, Oct. 9, 2022. Two of the three boaters sustained injuries to their hands due to a shark attack. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

Coast Guard Rescues Overdue Boaters from Shark-Infested Gulf of Mexico

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 3931
October 11, 2022

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued three overdue boaters Sunday from shark-infested waters in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 25 miles offshore from Empire, Louisiana. This story is making national news.

Coast Guard Sector New Orleans watchstanders received a report of overdue boaters from a concerned family member after the boaters did not return from a fishing trip Saturday evening. Their 24-foot center console boat reportedly sank at approximately 10 a.m. Saturday morning, stranding them without any means of communication.

Watchstanders coordinated the launch of several Coast Guard air and boat crews to search an area spanning approximately 1,250 square miles—roughly the size of Rhode Island. Amazingly, a Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew was able to locate all three boaters in the water.

A Coast Guard Station Venice 45-foot Response-Boat Medium boatcrew arrived on scene and witnessed two of the boaters fending off sharks, along with injuries to both boater’s hands. The two boaters were pulled from the water.

Another Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew hoisted the third boater from the water.

A recovered life jacket was even ripped to shreds by a shark.

A Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans aircrew member holds up a torn life jacket from a recent rescue off the coast of Empire, Louisiana, Oct. 9, 2022. One of the boater’s life jackets was torn due to a shark attack. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans)

The two boaters recovered by the Venice boatcrew were transferred to the Jayhawk helicopter before being transferred to University Medical Center New Orleans, where the boaters were reported in stable condition.

All three boaters were wearing lifejackets and one was experiencing signs of hypothermia at the time of the rescue.

“We searched an area roughly the size of Rhode Island and are thankful to have found these missing boaters,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Keefe, a Sector New Orleans Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator. “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.”

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