Navy aircraft off Florida coast responds to capsized boat off IOP

Three men sit on the hull of the boat waiting to be rescued (Source: USCG)
Three men sit on the hull of the boat waiting to be rescued (Source: USCG)
Overturned boat six miles off coast of IOP (Source: USCG)
Overturned boat six miles off coast of IOP (Source: USCG)
Source: USCG
Source: USCG
SeaTow boat hovers near overturned boat (Source: USCG)
SeaTow boat hovers near overturned boat (Source: USCG)

ISLE OF PALMS, SC (WCSC) - U.S. Coast Guard officials say a Navy aircraft off the coast of Florida unexpectedly responded to a capsized boat six miles off the coast of the Isle of Palms Thursday morning.

Lt. Shannon Scaff, a spokesman for USCG Sector Charleston, said the 25-foot center console coat called Sea Tow in distress.

As conditions worsened, the mariners called for additional assistance over VHF marine radio channel 16.

"We got the call at 10:47 a.m. from Sea Tow," Scaff said. "A vessel was taking on water, capsized putting three people in the water."

The Coast Guard put together an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast to alert other boaters in the area.

"This gets the basic information out asking for assistance from other mariners," Scaff said.

When the broadcast went out, Scaff said a Navy aircraft operating off the coast of Florida diverted its position to head to the area.

"They made it to the location in 20 minutes," Scaff said.

Scaff added the aircraft circled the area until other agencies arrived.

Sea Tow and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers responded to the scene after the Navy. Charleston County Sheriff's Office marine units, a Coast Guard helicopter out of John's Island, and a Coast Guard boat also responded.

"The three men were on the hull of the boat," Scaff said. "Our rescue swimmer was deployed into the water where he swam to the boat. There he assessed each of them for injuries. The swimmer then swam each person to the Sea Tow boat."

The survivors were later transferred to the Coast Guard boat, and the Coast Guard boat crew took them to the Isle of Palms Marina.

The survivors did not require emergency medical treatment and were reported to be in good condition.

The Coast Guard said they are not sure how the boat started taking on water.

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