Coast Guard Rescues Crew of Sunken Fishing Boat as They Fight off Sharks

By author of The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

Two of the three men had shark bite wounds on their hands

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued the three-man crew of a sunken fishing boat as two of the men were fighting off sharks in the Gulf of Mexico.

WKRG, reports that the Coast Guard pulled all three men from the water on Sunday, October 9, and rushed them to a hospital. In a press release issued by the Coast Guard, officials say two of the men suffered shark bite wounds on their hands and one of the three was showing signs of hypothermia.

The boat was reported missing late October 8, and the Coast Guard located the crew 25 miles off Empire, Louisiana, which is approximately 55 miles southeast of New Orleans.

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After a Coast Guard helicopter spotted the men, a rescue boat arrived to discover two of the boaters fending off sharks, along with injuries to both boaters' hands. The rescue boat pulled the men from the water before the sharks could cause more injuries, and the third man was hoisted from the water by a helicopter.

The crewmen had been in the water for more than a day after their 24-foot center console boat sunk around 10 a.m. on Saturday.

A Jayhawk helicopter transferred the crew to University Medical Center New Orleans where they were reported in stable condition.

“We searched an area roughly the size of Rhode Island and are thankful to have found these missing boaters,” Lt. Commander Kevin Keefe said in the release. “If the family member had not notified the Coast Guard, and if these three boaters were not wearing life jackets, this could’ve been a completely different outcome. We appreciate the assistance of the boating public, who were instrumental in helping identify possible areas where these boaters could have been operating before the vessel became in distress.”

When the boat sank, the men were left without means of communicating their location. Investigators have not said what caused the fishing boat to sink.

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