Coast Guard rescues 2 boaters off Longboat Key

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U.S. Coast Guard rescuers from Cortez aid boaters in the Gulf of Mexico off Longboat Key. Islander Photo: Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued two boaters stranded June 21 in the Gulf of Mexico about 6 miles west of Longboat Key.

Training nearby at 8:38 p.m. when the 911 call came in, a U.S. Coast Guard crew from Cortez on a 45-foot response boat was immediately diverted to the emergency, Petty Officer 1st Class Michael De Nyse said.

Within 11 minutes, the crew arrived and found Tonda Reeck, 62, and Donald Swanson, 60, clinging to the hull of a 31-foot fishing boat.

“When we got there, they were very happy to see us,” De Nyse said.

No injuries were reported.

The boaters were transported to Bradenton Beach. The fishing boat was righted by a commercial service and towed.

De Nyse said he didn’t know why the boat capsized.

He warned mariners to know “both their limitations and the limitations of their vessel” before embarking into the water.

            — Kathy Prucnell