CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Seven people are safe and recovering after spending 20 hours in the water Saturday night.
A helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Savannah had been doing search operations for nearly six hours when the missing persons were located. The crew was starting its last search pattern when the flight mechanic spotted the missing boaters in the moonlight around 6 a.m. Sunday.
According to the Coast Guard, the 38 foot boat began taking on water in the engine compartment. The seven people on the boat, four adults and three children, donned life jackets and abandoned ship.
When rescue crews arrived on-scene, the bow of the boat was sticking about four feet above the water. The people had no light, radio, or signaling devices, and were found clinging to a cooler.
The boat started sinking approximately 30 miles east of Charleston. Crews from Air Station Charleston were also involved in the search.
The wife of the boat's owner contacted the Coast Guard Saturday night at 10 p.m. when the boaters did not return by a specified time.
All seven people were taken to MUSC to be treated.