April 30, 2023
A U.S. Coast Guard air crew from Miami saved three men from a sunken boat off the Dry Tortugas National Park on Sunday afternoon.
A person contacted Coast Guard Sector Key West when they saw Mrs. Sandy — the 45-foot longliner vessel — taking on water with people on board, the agency said in a news release. Ground crews then used Mrs. Sandy’s radio beacon position to locate the vessel.
At around 2 p.m., the helicopter crew arrived, hoisted the men into the aircraft and took them to Key West International Airport in good health.
According to the National Weather Service in Key West, Sunday was a windy and stormy day. A top wind gust of 45 mph was recorded at Naval Air Station Key West on Boca Chica Key at around 10 a.m. and a small craft advisory remained in effect Sunday night for the Straits of Florida, Hawk Channel and Gulf waters, including Dry Tortugas and Florida Bay
Wind speeds are forecast to significantly slow down starting Monday night accompanied by a work week of sunny skies and dry weather.
“We’re extremely happy Mrs. Sandy crew had an inflatable raft and an EPIRB (emergency indicating radio beacon position) aboard,” said Jonathan Wheatley, an operations unit controller at Sector Key West. “Having the proper safety equipment is often the difference maker between life and death in these situations.”
Boat safety tips
As always, the Coast Guard reminds all boaters of these important safety tips while enjoying activities on the water:
▪ File a float plan.
▪ Check the weather.
Both the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the United States Power Squadrons, a non-profit educational organization, have certified vessel examiners who will perform a free Vessel Safety Check on your boat, at a time of mutual convenience. There is no charge, and no consequences if you don’t pass.