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Six boaters rescued in early morning sinking off Captiva

By Staff | Apr 20, 2011

During the early morning hours of April 17 off the coast of Captiva, six boaters found their vessel was taking in water and quickly took action.

Two of the stranded victims — who were not identified by rescue officials — were found standing on top of the upside down Grady with a light, while the other four were floating 75 yards away, wearing lifejackets and using a large cooler to help keep them afloat.

“It was fortunate, before they had issues, everyone put lifejackets on and used the big cooler to make it easier for them to spotted in the water,” noted one of the rescuers, Cpl. Alan Falde, with the Lee County Sheriff’s Department.

Falde and Bart Lally, an EMT with the Captiva Fire District, was already on the water that morning searching for a reported sinking vessel, when they heard the call of a second boat in distress in the Boca Grande Pass/ Charlotte Harbor area.

When the pair arrived, they found the 26-to-28-foot boat had already capsized. They then discovered two men on top of the vessel holding a light and four others floating in the water.

“The (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) rescued the two on the boat,” said Falde. “We took the other four to the Boca Grande Pass to be checked out.”

The boaters’ only complaints, according to Falde, were being “cold and wet.” When the boat became sluggish, the group found it was taking on water from an unknown source.

Charlotte County authorities are handling the accident investigation.