Good Samaritans save the day when pontoon boat sinks in Pass – Florida News

Good Samaritans save the day when pontoon boat sinks in Pass – Florida News

■ BY MARCY SHORTUSE

Spring break has sprung as far as Boca Grande firefighters are concerned, as this past week’s roster of events included several boat-in-distress calls and one brush fire in Boca Bay.

On Saturday, March 11 at approximately 5:30 p.m. the Boca Grande Fire Department responded to a call from a vessel sinking in Boca Grande Pass. When they arrived, they found that the occupants of the boat had been pulled out of the water by nearby boaters, and their floating belongings were being retrieved.

Colleen Hibbits, a witness to the incident, said the family was on a pontoon boat and were trying to reach the shallow waters of a nearby sandbar, but their boat was at an odd angle and they were struggling with it. She was with Capt. Matt Coleman when the scene unfolded in front of them.

“Two other boats in the Pass spotted them and sped out to rescue them,” she said. “From the time the boat was spotted until it was totally submerged was about five minutes. Someone said they had been anchored and had a wave or wake come over and swamp them. Boca Grande Pass, as lovely as it may be, is quite treacherous if you’re a novice boater or unfamiliar with the strength of the tides.”

On Tuesday, March 14 the fire department received two calls at the same time, right around 4:38 p.m. The first call was a transport for a back pain patient; the second was a call to pick up a child on Cayo Costa who had cut his arm. The wound was not serious but did require some stitches, so the victim was transported. Also on that same day, there was a call from a boat – a shrimper –…

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