Off-Duty Coast Guard Helicopter Pilot Rescues Two People from Overturned Vessel in Madeira Beach
An off-duty Coast Guard helicopter pilot and his family rescued two people from the water Saturday near John’s Pass.
The incident occurred shortly before 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 25, 2018.
Rescued were a 51-year-old Clearwater man and a 39-year-old woman from Seminole.
Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Justin Pacheco, an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter pilot from Air Station Clearwater, was out on his 21-foot boat with his family when he noticed something.
“We came around a corner, and I saw a blue stripe going up in the air,” said Pacheco. “It was the nose of the boat. I thought, that doesn’t look right.”
He said the 22-foot boat capsized within 10 seconds, leaving two people in the water. Immediately, Pacheco and his family dialed 911 and went to work.
Pacheco navigated his boat to the two people, and helped pull them out of the water. He explained, “That’s what any boater would do.”
A Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office marine unit and a City of Seminole Fire Rescue boat crew also responded.
Seminole Fire Rescue transported the couple to Madeira Beach Marina. There were no reported injuries.
Video courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard
The 22-foot boat currently poses a hazard to navigation. The owner of the 22-foot boat is working with commercial salvage to remove the boat. Mariners are requested to keep a sharp lookout for all possible hazards to navigation, and listen to local notice to mariners broadcasts for hazard updates. Local notice to mariners is broadcasted twice daily via VHF-FM marine band radio.