The U.S. Coast Guard rescued two teenagers who were on an overdue boat near Big Coppitt Key.
The teens were found inside a 16-foot skiff, waving at the helicopter crew sent to find them. They were hoisted up and taken to the Key West International Airport.
Tuesday’s call for help came after the two were supposed to return to shore before sunset. The Coast Guard sent out a MH-65 helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Miami.
“I don’t know why they were overdue exactly,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Murray, with the public affairs office, adding he didn’t know whether they were lost. “We received the call, launched and found them. They did not have navigational lights or any sort of radio.”
There were no reported injuries.
The skiff’s owner will have to make arrangements to retrieve the anchored vessel, the Coast Guard said. Officials said it was an example of boating without the proper safety gear.
“It’s important that people have all the right safety equipment, communications equipment, and a float plan when going out on the water,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Jeremy Weaver, command duty officer at Sector Key West. “Utilizing the proper tools in a search and rescue situation, particularly at night, can exponentially increase our chances of rescuing someone.”