Deputies with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office’s Marine Unit and good Samaritan boaters all chipped in to rescue 11 people who went into the water after a boat capsized on Sunday.
Sheriff’s officials said in a news release issued on Thursday that they were summoned at about 5:24 p.m. Sunday to a capsized boat just east of Beer Can Island.
The agency’s aviation unit flew over the scene and confirmed that a vessel was upside down in the water and several people were swimming around it, the news release states.
A nearby boater arrived and began lifting people aboard to safety, the sheriff’s office said. Deputies arrived moments later on their vessel and found two men hanging onto the hull of the overturned boat. One had a life jacket, the other did not, the agency reported.
Deputies threw a rope to the man and brought them both aboard, after which one reported having chest pains. A Hillsborough Fire Rescue boat was called, which took the man to a local hospital.
All the other people who had been rescued were taken to the Apollo Beach Marina.
”Thanks to the willingness of some local boaters to help out, a group of 11 people, consisting of men, women, and children, were saved after they were stranded in the water when their seacraft capsized,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in the news release. “Almost all the victims were wearing life preservers. We remind everyone to always have the right amount of life vests for each person on a boat, as well as keeping stock of all other safety and emergency equipment.”
The sheriff’s office said the U.S. Coast Guard also helped with the rescue and Sea Tow helped recover the overturned boat.