posted: 01 Oct 2014
EVERGLADES, Fla. — Just after noon on Tuesday, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue responded by air and water to a sinking airboat with three fishermen on it in the Everglades near Tamiami Trail and 377th Avenue.
One of the fishermen, Pat Goins, was with two of his friends on the airboat. Goins and another fisherman had a friend visiting them from Missouri, so they decided to head out fishing in the swamp when they hit something that made the boat start to take on water. “There must have been a stop or something underneath the water so we hit it at about 30 to 35 miles an hour and knocked a hole in the bottom of the boat,” said Goins.
The two fishermen plucked their Missouri friend from the gator-infested waters. “We started back in and it’s raining so hard you can’t see. We’re going back in and all of a sudden we’re taking on so much water we can’t go.”
The real concern began when the boat was unable to move and the fishermen were far from civilization. “We finally pull over on some grass and our boat just slowly sinks. Nothing you can do,” said Goins.
As soon as the 911 call came in, Fire Rescue suited up and lifted off from Opa-Locka airport. “We didn’t have a good reference point so the search was critical in locating them,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Air Rescue North Capt. Andy Borges. “With their cellphone, they talked us to where they were, gave us coordinates and said, ‘We see this, we see that.'”
The boaters were out for a couple of hours before an air rescue chopper found them and hoisted them up. “They were up to probably their chest in water,” said Borges.
The fishermen’s visitor may never fish again. “Welcome to Florida,” Goins said to his friend from Missouri.
None of the fishermen were injured in the incident.