Coast Guard searching for 2 missing boaters near Key Largo

NORTHEAST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - U.S. Coast Guard crews are searching for two missing boaters near Key Largo.

7SkyForce HD flew over the scene where USCG officials could be seen approaching an overturned vessel near Haulover Inlet, Monday afternoon.

Coast Guard officials were first made aware of the missing boaters at around 4 p.m. Sunday when the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported three people were on board a potentially overdue 23-foot Blue Proline vessel that departed from the Caribbean Club in Key Largo, Thursday.

USCG crews in Miami said a good Samaritan stated they recovered one person in the water near Biscayne Bay at around 9:30 p.m., Sunday.

The man was transferred to a City of Miami Fire Boat and transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital in unknown condition.

Officials confirmed the victim was one of the three boaters missing from the Key Largo area.

According to U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Lally, the patient told officials that he and the other boaters encountered rough waters on Friday.

“The person stated that their vessel had capsized after they encountered the storm,” said Lally during a phone interview.

Officials said the rescued boater abandoned the boat to find help while the other two stayed behind.

“In this case, you had a gentleman who was prepared for something and had a life jacket and able to have that will to be able to swim and seek for help,” Lally said. “He said the men had life jackets, which is great, because a life jacket can significantly increase your chances of survival.”

As a plane circled above the ocean, rescuers said they’re holding out hope they can find the two missing boaters.

“Anytime we do go out for a search-and-rescue case, we’re always hoping to bring somebody home,” said Lally. “I mean, the reason we’re out there is there’s always that hope.”

The search will continue on Tuesday.

The Coast Guard took the opportunity to advise boaters that, in addition to wearing life jackets, they should create a “Float Plan.” That way, in potentially tragic situations, crews have as much information as possible to try and find someone.

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