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BOATER PLUCKED SAFELY FROM GULF

The Coast Guard picks up a signal from the man's EPIRB.

A 66-year-old man was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard on Tuesday afternoon when his boat sank 14 miles west of Clearwater Pass, authorities said.

Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a call from Elaine Gamache reporting that her husband, Gregory Gamache, failed to return home at noon as expected after he went out in his 33-foot Bertram vessel to test the engines.

Soon thereafter, the Coast Guard was alerted to Gamache's Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon signal, which was going off in the same area his float plan indicated he would be.

The Coast Guard launched an HH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter from Air Station Clearwater, a 47-foot motor-lifeboat and a 25-foot response boat from Coast Guard Station Sand Key in Clearwater.

The rescue helicopter's crew quickly located Gamache, who was in a life raft, at 3:50 p.m. He was picked up by the crew of the 25-foot response boat and taken to Station Sand Key.

Gamache told Coast Guard officials that he hit a submerged object, which caused the vessel to sink rapidly. He was reported to be in good condition, a Coast Guard spokeswoman said.

Gamache was located quickly because his boat was equipped with an EPIRB, which transmit GPS and radio signals that rescuers can use to find a craft in distress, and because he left a float plan with his wife, Coast Guard officials said.

The couple's hometown was not released.

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