PALMETTO — Six people were injured Saturday when two boats collided off the coast of Port Manatee, according to the Coast Guard.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office notified the Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg base about 9:20 a.m. that a boating accident that took place two miles west of Manbirtee Key, said Petty Officer Lourdes Putnam. Manbirtee Key is a spoil island and bird sanctuary off Port Manatee.
Low visibility due to thick morning fog may have been a contributing factor to the crash, Putnam said. She did not know the medical conditions of the injured boaters. The Coast Guard did not release any others details about how the crash took place or what vessels were involved.
A nearby boater helped rescue an unknown number of people from the water. SIx injured boaters were transferred to a 45-foot Coast Guard response boat sent from St. Petersburg.
The Coast Guard vessel took the injured back to St. Petersburg, where paramedics were waiting to treat them. The injured were taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg hospital and St. Anthony’s Hospital for medical treatment.
Both vessels need to be salvaged and removed from the water, the Coast Guard said. The incident is being investigated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The Tampa Police Department, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and Eckerd College Search team also sent boats to help.