Story by U.S. Coast Guard,
7th District Public Affairs
COCONUT GROVE, FL - Good Sam, Coast Guard rescue 8
after all-night search effort Search hampered by lack of float plan,
inadequate equipment Eight people that were reported missing while on a
dive trip last night were located on a stilt-house near Elliot Key at
approximately 9:30 a.m. today. The survivors were forced to swim
to the stilt-house after their vessel capsized and were located by a
Good Samaritan while they were sitting on the porch.
A Coast Guard rescue boat has been dispatched from Station Miami Beach
to recover the survivors and transfer them back to shore at the Station.
The voyage began some time yesterday afternoon when the vessel departed
from Matheson Hammock Park in Coconut Grove, Fla. The vessel was
apparently equipped with cell phones, life jackets, flares, a
flashlight, food and water on board, but without a working VHF radio or
a detailed float plan.
The Coast Guard received a report of the overdue vessel from a family
member at 11:24 p.m. yesterday and immediately launched a massive search
effort. The Coast Guard's search included the following:
A surface search of Biscayne Bay with boats from Station
An aerial search from John Pennekamp park to Biscayne Bay
with an HU-25 Falcon jet from Air Station Maimi.
An aerial search from Miami to the Spiegel Rocks and the
area around the Spiegel Grove dive site with an
Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Miami.
A surface search of John Pennekamp park with boats from
A Coast Guard
HC-130 Airplane searched the Florida Straits
for any signs of the missing boaters.
The Coast Guard also issued urgent marine information broadcasts on
VHF-FM radio Ch. 16 asking all boaters to report any signs of the
missing people to their nearest Coast Guard unit.
"These boaters were very fortunate to have been found safe and sound and
we are relieved by this fact and greatly appreciate the assistance of
the Good Samaritan who reported them," said Capt. Everett Rollins, chief
of search and rescue for the Seventh Coast Guard District. "Two
unnecessary complications for our search efforts were the lack of
detailed information on the vessel and its intended trip, as well as the
apparent lack of a working marine radio. These are critical items
to helping the Coast Guard develop the best search areas possible,
significantly improving a distressed boaters chances of survival."
Editor's Note: The Coast Guard reminds boaters to remain vigilant when
on the water and strongly suggest having charts, a global positioning
device and reliable means of communication on board. VHF radios
are preferable to cell phones as cell phones can be unreliable due to
low batteries and holes in coverage areas. In the event of
distress at sea, a float plan filed with a responsible friend or family
member on shore is crucial to helping the Coast Guard respond in a