Busy Memorial Day Weekend for the Coast Guard

Crews responded to several water emergencies Saturday

By Jason Mealey - Producer/assignment editor
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Coast Guard Petty Officers 2nd Class Bobby Hitcock (left) and Anthony Abbate (right) talk to Nmir Ali Mahmoud and his father, Ali Mahmoud Fradi, about the accident which left the pair and a friend stranded on their 21-foot boat on top of a…

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. - Several incidents on area waterways make for a busy start to the three-day weekend.  The agency responded to several emergencies and patrolled heavily populated waterways in Jacksonville alongside Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers.

A Coast Guard boat crew from Mayport rescued a 10-year-old boy and two men after the 21-foot boat they were on became stuck on top of a jetty near Mayport. The child suffered a minor foot injury during the rescue, but the men were uninjured.

The Coast Guard also witnessed a personal watercraft hit the stern of a vessel near Little Talbot Island. FWC officers also responded to that accident.

Another Coast Guard boat crew from Mayport responded to a rescue of two men who had been stranded on their 20-foot boat for two days. They were 40 miles off the coast of St. Augustine. Saturday the Coast Guard towed that vessel to the Vilano boat ramp.

Authorities have also responded to various boating emergencies across Florida throughout the holiday weekend.

In Pensacola Bay, radar was being used to search for 4-year-old Logan Fontana, who fell from his grandfather's boat without a life jacket Saturday.

In the Tampa Bay-area, a man is dead after jumping from a boat into a lake to save a dog that had jumped overboard.

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office says the dog was returned safely Saturday to the pontoon boat on Lake Tarpon, but the Palm Harbor man disappeared underwater. John Patti's body was found Sunday.

Several other boaters were taken into custody for operating their vessels under the influence of alcohol. The Coast Guard is reminding boaters that operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol is just as dangerous as driving drunk and will not be tolerated.

The Coast Guard says Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest in the nation for boating and for Coast Guard search and rescue crews.

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