ST. PETERSBURG — Four people clinging to the hull of their overturned boat in the waters beneath the Sunshine Skyway Bridge were rescued Friday night thanks to a join effort by the Coast Guard and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
The rescue took place about 10:45 p.m. The first sign that the boat was in distress came when two red distress flares were into the night sky south of the bridge, according to the Coast Guard.
A harbor pilot reported the flares to the Coast Guard’s Sector St. Petersburg base. Five minutes later, a 911 call reporting that a boat was taking on water near the bridge was made to Manatee County dispatchers.
A Hillsborough sheriff’s helicopter was dispatched to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and found the overturned boat in the waters of Tampa Bay.
The helicopter crew directed a Coast Guard 45-foot Response boat from St. Petersburg to the overturned boat, which arrived about 10:45 p.m. The four boaters were rescued and taken to Harborage Marina. None required medical treatment.
The submerged boat is located outside of the main channel beneath the bridge. The Coast Guard did not say what went wrong aboard the boat or when it will be salvaged.