posted: 12 May 2021
by: Nicole Linsalata | Joe Roetz
WEST BROWARD, FLA. (WSVN) – Two men had to be rescued from the Everglades after the airboat they were piloting became lodged in swamp muck and ran out of gas in Northwest Broward County.
Nobie Watkins, a Broward Sheriff’s Fire Rescue member, and his team were called to the area, about a mile west of the Sawgrass Expressway, at around 12:30 p.m., Wednesday.
“It seemed like everything on the call was one thing after another,” Watkins said. “We didn’t have a set of coordinates originally, so we didn’t know where the caller was, so we had to fly air rescue. Usually, we can get a set of coordinates, but the people that called it in, they weren’t really familiar with cellphones or GPS.”
According to Watkins, one of the boaters was seriously injured during the rescue.
“The deck was wet, so he slipped on the boat and smashed his head up against the side of the grass rake, and that’s where he was bleeding from,” Watkins said.
Paramedics secured the wounded boater onto a backboard before he was loaded onto an air rescue helicopter. The man was airlifted to Broward Health North in Deerfield Beach in unknown condition.
The other fire rescue members helped the other boater load fuel into the vessel and grabbed shovels to free the airboat from the muck.
“The boat was on an angle,” Watkins said. “The pickup tube on the fuel tank wasn’t picking up any fuel, so we had to get the boat level in order to get the fuel back into the system and make the boat run again. You never know what you’re going to get out here.”
Eventually, the boat was freed, and rescue crews escorted the vessel to the Loxahatchee boat ramp.