Coast Guard, FWC rescue 7 off disabled fishing boat in Nassau Sound

Author: Chris Robbins, Evening newscast producer, crobbins@wjxt.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 06:17:16 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 01 2013 07:40:23 AM EST
ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. -

A Coast Guard helicopter crew and a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission boatcrew rescued two adults and five children after the fishing boat the family was aboard became disabled in Nassau Sound on Saturday.

Rescued were Keith Geiger, of Darian, Ga., Geiger’s brother-in-law, James Lee, also of Darian, and Lee’s five children, ages 15, 14, 11, 9 and 2 years old.

Rough weather and the location of fishing equipment on board the 58-foot trawler initially made helicopter hoist operations too dangerous to conduct, and shoal water and breaking surf made it too dangerous for response boats to come alongside.

A Coast Guard boat from Station Mayport in Atlantic Beach and a Nassau County Marine Unit responded and remained nearby throughout the evening to monitor the situation.

Later in the day a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission boat was able to come alongside the trawler to remove the four youngest children and transfer them to the Coast Guard boat.

Immediately after the four children were removed from the trawler, a Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station Savannah, Ga., hoisted Geiger, Lee, and the 15-year-old boy and took them to Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport. The family was later reunited at Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville in Atlantic Beach.

There were no injuries reported.

The vessel remains at anchor, and Lee said he intends to recover it Sunday.