Key West Coast Guard personnel rescued six people and one dog from the water near Key West after their vessel capsized early Tuesday morning. The image above and video below are from a family Facebook post.
The vessel's name was Bauhinia, built in China.
Watchstanders at Sector Key West Command Center received a mayday call from a vessel in the vicinity of Key West reporting they were taking on water at 4 a.m. The watchstanders directed the launch of a Coast Guard Station Key West 45-foot Response Boat—Medium crew to assist the vessel. Around the same time as the mayday call, the Coast Guard 7 District Command Center watchstanders received an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) alert in the area of the distressed vessel.
The station crew arrived on scene after observing a spotlight hailing their vessel and upon arriving at the source, they rescued six people from the water and one dog.
All occupants of the vessel were accounted for and confirmed that they were the source of the mayday call and EPRIB activation. They were transported to Station Key West for transfer to local emergency medical services with no injuries were reported.
Here's a description by boat owner Holly Varner Frame, as posted on Facebook:
It's with sad and heavy heart I write. We lost our girl off the coast of Key West Monday. The coast guard was amazing. The evacuation went with the hand of God. Everything went as it should with no rehearsal. High water alarms went off on the early am about 3, my son went and checked port engine room it was good, starboard had water rushing in.
He ran up to the main level telling us to put on our life jackets she was going down. The captain my husband checked the same rooms by then the waters were on the companion way and he saw it rushing in through the master. He ordered anchor dropped, he sent out a mayday and ordered the engines stopped.
I grabbed a handheld and then the EPIRB. Everyone moved quickly and did as told, our sons grabbed phones, wallets and keys and lights as exiting, anything in the state rooms they knew was already gone. As we made our way to the back of the boat she was healing at about 45 degrees.
People were slipping and sliding past the exit gate as they were trying to exit off the back deck. Finally our family of six plus one dog were all in the Gulf with 4 to 5-foot swells and an occasional rogue wave of 7 feet. The coast guard found us because of the combination of things we did (which they said we did perfectly). Sending out the mayday before exiting, using the EPIRB and the lights.
(The brave new offshore flares were duds.) We had drifted two miles from our vessel in that hour. We were rescued in a little over an hour. All of us made it with only minor bumps and bruises. Giving the glory to God we are alive, and so very thankful for an excellent coast guard.
Son Joshua Frame recorded this video the day after the sinking:
“This case really highlights the importance of having emergency equipment on board,” said Chief Warrant Officer Matthew Caviness, command duty officer for Sector Key West, “The activation of the EPIRB was critical in the Station Key West crew locating all individuals in the water when we lost communication with the vessel.”
The Coast Guard reminds boaters of the importance of carrying life-saving emergency distress equipment. While many boaters rely on cell phones for emergency communications on the water, personal locator beacons are much more reliable in the marine environment. The Coast Guard highly recommends all mariners equip their boats with Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons and/or their life jackets with Personal Locator Beacons.
The Coast Guard also recommends boaters download the Coast Guard’s free boating safety mobile app which provides the essential boating safety services and information most commonly requested by boaters. The boating safety mobile app is available on the Apple and Google Play online stores.
For more information on the app, please visit http://www.uscg.mil/mobile