The U.S. Coast Guard is praising three men for their emergency preparedness after their 32-foot fishing boat sank approximately 90 miles west of Naples, Florida.
The three men were subsequently rescued from their life raft. Rescued were Madeira Beach natives, Terry Britton, 58, and Patrick Leoni, 43, and St. Petersburg native Kyle Haskins, 29.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a mayday call from an unknown source just before 2 a.m. on Monday. Two cruise ships, the Rotterdam and Norwegian Pearl, also reported hearing the mayday calls near their locations, and the Norwegian Pearl was diverted to assist.
A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, and an HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crew from Air Station Miami were launched to respond.
At 2:28 a.m., watchstanders received another notification from an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon registered to the 32-foot Miss Saturia. St. Petersburg watchstanders contacted the owner of the boat, James Glover, who reported the three men had taken the boat for a fishing trip.
The Coast Guard said an Ocean Sentry crew arrived on scene at approximately 4:04 a.m. and spotted strobe lights and red flares and located the three men.
The Jayhawk crew hoisted and transferred the men to the air station where EMS awaited. There were no reported injuries.
“They did everything correctly,” said Lt. Tyler Dewechter, one of the Jayhawk pilots. “The men were familiar with their safety equipment including strobe lights, EPIRB, flares and the life raft. They knew where the equipment was located, which allowed for our quick response.”
Haskins told the pilots they had been in the water for more than two hours, but had been trained for the situation. “They knew what to do,” said Dewechter.