MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A U.S. Coast Guard crew came to the rescue of 10 people from South Florida after their pleasure boat ran out of gas off the coast of the Bahamas, leaving it adrift for hours.
Two Coast Guard cutter crews responded to the 28-foot disabled vessel about nine miles west of Bimini, Monday afternoon. Rescuers embarked eight boaters on board one cutter and two boaters on the other.
7News cameras captured eight people on board one of the cutters disembarking at the Coast Guard station in Miami Beach. The boaters were seen hugging relatives after their arrival.
“I’m relieved. I’m, like, back on soil,” said Sebastian Murgia, one of the boaters.
“It’s good. I now feel relaxed,” said another boater.
Some of those rescued said they left for Bimini on vacation Sunday, at around 8 a.m. Their trip took a troubling turn after they encountered inclement weather.
“There were two storms, so we had to tie up the Jet Ski, and that made the boat waste more fuel,” said boater Luis Jimenez Jr.
The boaters said they ran out of fuel about six miles off Bimini, earlier on Monday, leaving them stuck in the open ocean.
“We were so close to see Bimini when we ran out of fuel,” said boater Riccardo Kaswalder. “We saw it. We were straight up close to it.”
The boaters shot flares and used their radios to call for help, initially to no avail.
“We were nervous. No one was answering their radio, and we have three radios,” said Murgia.
“We had to stay there for four and a half hours without any boats to help us,” said Camilla, another of the boaters.
“Oh, it was really scary,” said Jimenez Jr. “At first, when we could see Bimini, it wasn’t that scary, but then, when we were adrift, we couldn’t see anything, and we didn’t know if anyone was coming or not.”
Coast Guard crews answered their calls for help, racing to the rescue. They took photographs of the stranded vessel.
The two boaters on the second Coast Guard cutter were transferred to a TowBoatU.S. vessel that towed the disabled boat. 7Skyforce HD captured the pleasure craft with the personal watercraft attached being towed to the 15th Street Marina in Fort Lauderdale.
The boaters said they travel to Bimini often.
“We go all the time, like once a month,” said Jimenez. “We checked the weather. It said it was good, but you know, the nature, the weather.”
While the boaters are relieved to have made it back to dry land safely, they still have questions about why officials in the Bahamas weren’t quick to answer their call for help.
“No one would answer, so we even had to call all the way here to the U.S. Coast Guard, which they thankfully answered, and they came to us for help,” said Kaswalder.
No one was injured.
“I’m glad everyone is OK, and we made it home safe,” said Jimenez.
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