3 rescued from sinking shrimp boat off Little Talbot Island

JFRD: Marine distress call came in before 7 a.m.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Three people are safe and back on land after their shrimp boat began taking on water near Little Talbot Island early Thursday morning.

According to the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, the boat called the Russell Lee issued a marine distress call before 7 a.m., after the 62-foot boat hit a sandbar.

Willie Allen, who identified himself as the captain of the shrimp boat, told News4Jax that the boat's anchor broke off about 5 a.m. and the boat then drifted onto the sandbar. Allen, who's from Mayport, said he and the two others on board -- a North Carolina woman and a Brunswick man -- were awakened by the jolt.

Because of the shallow water, neither the Coast Guard nor JFRD boats could get close enough to the boat to rescue the three people on board. They actually got out and walked to shore, where they were checked out by paramedics.

SLIDESHOW: Shrimp boat takes on water near Little Talbot Island

There were no serious injuries reported.

By noon, the boat was mostly underwater. Salvage crews were waiting for high tide to see if they could salvage the boat.

Environmental crews were called to find out if there was any fuel or oil leak.