BRADENTON, Fla. - Two fishermen are safe after a U.S. Coast Guard rescue helicopter pulled them to safety from their sinking boat Saturday morning about 40 miles west of Bradenton.
"They just started taking on a bunch of water and before they could get out a distress call or get their flares or anything else the boat sank and then flipped upside down," U.S. Coast Guard Commander Micah Acree said.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the two men from Sarasota were fishing for red grouper when they noticed the back of their boat was underwater. They tried to drive away but were unsuccessful.
Officials say the boat went down within 10 minutes, which gave one of the men just enough time to grab their PLB or Personal Locator Beacon.
"If they hadn't have had that they might have been out there all night before anybody even knew anything was wrong and with the water temperature where it is today around 70 degrees, that may have been a fatal mistake," Acree said.
When activated, a personal locator beacon transmits a distress signal, which is detected by a global satellite system and then relayed to the appropriate emergency services.
"The Coast Guard Commander Center in St. Petersburg knew pretty much immediately where the beacon was and that's where they told us where to go and they were right where we thought they would be," Acree said.
Acree says without a PLB, the men could have easily been stranded for days.
"They were happy to be out of the water. They weren't too stressed out at that point, but that comes with only being in the water for 30 or 45 minutes and I've rescued people before and when you're in the water overnight or a day or two that's a lot different feeling," Acree said.
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