Gulf of Mexico
Two of the survivors had hand injuries after fending off sharks in the water (USCG)

LA - Video: U.S. Coast Guard Saves Three Men From Sharks off Louisiana

On Sunday, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued three boaters about 25 nm off the coast of Louisiana - just in time to save them from sharks.

The three survivors abandoned ship when their center-console fishing boat went down off the town of Empire, about 50 nm to the southeast of New Orleans. The vessel sank at about 1000 hours Saturday morning, leaving them in the water. They had lifejackets, but no raft and no means of communication.

A concerned family member contacted the Coast Guard to report them missing when they did not return that evening. Watchstanders at Sector New Orleans launched multiple Coast Guard air and boat crews to search an area spanning about 1,250 square miles.

Thanks to guidance from local fishermen and no small dose of luck, a Coast Guard fixed-wing SAR aircrew spotted the men in the water. A USCG response boat crew diverted to the scene and arrived to find two of the survivors actively fending off sharks, and both of the men had injured hands. The boatcrew rescued them from the water before the sharks could cause any more injuries.

"We searched an area roughly the size of Rhode Island and are thankful to have found these missing boaters," said Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Keefe, a Sector New Orleans Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator. "If the family member had not notified the Coast Guard, and if these three boaters were not wearing life jackets, this could've been a completely different outcome. We appreciate the assistance of the boating public, who were instrumental in helping identify possible areas where these boaters could have been operating."

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