Coast Guard rescues 2 brothers clinging to range light in Tampa Bay

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TAMPA, Fla. — The Coast Guard rescued two fishermen Monday who were clinging to a rear range light in the Tampa Bay.

Rescued were Tung Le, 47, and Thanh Le, 41, brothers from Tampa.

At 9:48 a.m. on Monday, July 31, 2017, watchstanders from Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a 911 transfer call from Pinellas County Dispatch reporting two men were in the water clinging to the Tampa Bay Cut Delta Channel outbound rear range light.

The men stated they were fishing aboard their 17-foot boat in the bay when their engine died and the boat began taking on water. While the brothers worked on the inoperable pump, the boat drifted and struck the range light. The brothers tied their boat off to the range light; they were forced to cling to the navigation aid and call for help when the boat sank.

“It was dying down when we were out there and finally everything started going wrong,” said Thanh Le. “The waves started hitting while we were trying to fix the bilge in the back and when we turned around we were drifting out.”

A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew from Station St. Petersburg was launched. The boatcrew  arrived on scene at 10:08 a.m. and rescued the two brothers. The fishermen were transported to the station with no reported injuries.

“Especially now that we are in the Hurricane season, it’s imperative that mariners double check their local weather forecast before heading out on their next boating adventure,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Alejandro Diaz, a crewmember aboard the rescue boat from Station St. Petersburg. “It’s also important to know your vessel’s limitations and parameters prior to getting on the water. Before you and your friends or family get underway, create a float plan on the Coast Guard Mobile App and share it with friends and family on land letting them know your boating plans.”

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