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Coast Guard, Florida Fish and Wildlife rescue 2 adults, 5 kids
Rough weather, disabled vessel, dragging anchor: a trifecta of factors led to this rescue operation

Posted Dec. 3, 2013

 
Coast Guard, Florida Fish and Wildlife rescue 2 adults, 5 kids
A Coast Guard helicopter crew rescued two men and a 15-year-old boy after the fishing boat the family was aboard became disabled in Nassau Sound, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission boatcrew rescued four other children from the vessel as well. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)


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ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – A Coast Guard helicopter crew and a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission boatcrew rescued two adults and five children after the fishing boat the family was aboard became disabled in Nassau Sound, Fla., Saturday.

Rescued were Keith Geiger, of Darian, Ga., Geiger’s brother-in-law, James Lee, also of Darian, and Lee’s five children, ages 15, 14, 11, 9 and 2 years old.

The boaters notified watchstanders at Sector Jacksonville, Fla., at 2:45 p.m. that their vessel became disabled, the anchor was not holding and they were rapidly drifting to shore.

The helicopter crew intended to hoist all seven people from the boat and take them to the south end of Little Talbot Island.

Rough weather and the location of fishing equipment on board the 58-foot trawler initially made helicopter hoist operations too dangerous to conduct, and shoal water and breaking surf made it too dangerous for response boats to come alongside.

A Coast Guard boatcrew from Station Mayport in Atlantic Beach and a Nassau County Marine Unit boatcrew responded and remained nearby throughout the evening to monitor the situation.

Later in the day a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission boatcrew was able to come alongside the trawler to remove the four youngest children and transfer them to the Coast Guard boat.

Immediately after the four children were removed from the trawler, a Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station Savannah, Ga., hoisted Geiger, Lee, and the 15-year-old boy and took them to Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport. The family was later reunited at Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville in Atlantic Beach.

There were no injuries reported.

The vessel remains at anchor, and Lee said he intends to recover it Sunday.

 
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