6 rescued from flooding boat 30 miles offshore

Coast Guard crew members, good Samaritan help rescue 6 east of Ponce Inlet

PONCE INLET, Fla. - Rescue crews from Station Ponce De Leon Inlet in New Smyrna Beach rescued six people who were aboard a boat that was in danger of sinking 30 miles east of Ponce Inlet on Tuesday, authorities said.

At 4:15 p.m., William "Billy" Moody used a marine radio to broadcast a mayday call, reporting the 20-foot recreational boat he was aboard with five other people was flooding, according to the Coast Guard.

Crew members responded to the call and directed a boat crew from Station Ponce De Leon Inlet that was already underway to assist. Officials said a good Samaritan aboard a nearby boat overheard the radio call and also responded.

Moody activated the boat's emergency position indicating radio beacon, which gave responders his precise location, the Coast Guard said.

"When we received the initial radio distress call, the man didn't provide his full GPS coordinates, but when he activated his vessel's EPIRB we received his precise position," said Chief Petty Officer Sandy Ketchen, Sector Jacksonville command duty officer. "Without the full position provided by the EPIRB, our boat crew would have been searching a 3,600-square-mile area to find the vessel."

The good Samaritan arrived at the scene first and brought one of the six people from the flooding boat aboard. The Coast Guard boat crew arrived shortly after and began using a dewatering pump to get the flooding under control.

Authorities said the boat was under Coast Guard escort as it made way toward shore under its own power with the dewatering pump continuously running to keep up with flooding. The owners contracted commercial salvage company Sea Tow to take over.

The boaters reported a crack in the boat's transom caused the flooding, according to the Coast Guard.

No injuries were reported.

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