Boat carrying 5 rescues 4, then overturns; all saved

Published 8:23 am Sunday, September 30, 2007

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Five people on a 20-foot boat rescued four from a slightly smaller boat which had overturned Saturday morning in the Mississippi Sound, but all nine had to be rescued when the second boat also flipped over.

All nine, including five children aged 6 to 13, were clinging to the hull, uninjured, when Coast Guard rescue crews arrived, said Lt. Tavis McElheny, who flew the jet that found the craft and relayed its position to rescuers.

They all wore life vests, he said.

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An 18-foot boat was the first to overturn. The Coast Guard got a call about it after 6 a.m., and began dispatching aircraft. Before it arrived, McElheny said, “everybody piles onto the 20-foot vessel. … They then capsized shortly after that.”

He said he did not know what caused either accident. The boats overturned about two miles south of Bay St. Louis, Miss.

Coast Guard crews from New Orleans, Gulfport, Miss., Mobile and Dauphin Island, Ala., and Mobile responded with the Falcon fanjet, two helicopters and a 41-foot boat, he said.

Those rescued were identified as Rich Hughes, 38; Bobby Anderson, 36; John Smith, 34; Ernie Harris, 28; Tiffany Anderson, 13; Jacob Smith, 12; Joseph Smith, 11; Brennan Hughes, 8 and Joshua Hughes, 6. The Coast Guard did not give their hometowns.