12 people were rescued after their boat sank in the Gulf of Mexico early Friday morning. The 8th Coast Guard District received a distress call from an EPIRB from the 170-foot R/V Seaprobe approximately 141 miles south of Pensacola.
Crews with the USCG Aviation Training Center in Mobile and USCG Air Station Clearwater responded to the call. “It was ten to 15 foot seas, 25 knot winds,” says Lt. Commander Gary Scott. “By the time we were there, the boat had already capsized and all the survivors were in the water.” Scott is with a team from Aviation Clearwater, which also responded to the scene.
The boat was identified as the Seaprobe, a research vessel. All the people on board were accounted for and lifted into two H-60 helicopters.
“They were all cold and covered in diesel fuel,” says Aviation Maintenance Technician Robert McDonald of Mobile. “We covered them in blankets, gave them some food, and one of them was so comfortable he fell asleep.”
The survivors and crew members were back in Mobile by about 8 a.m. Friday. Some of the survivors sustained minor injuries, but all are alive and recovering.
No word yet on what caused the boat to sink.