KEY WEST, Fla. — The Coast Guard medevaced two crewmembers from the fishing vessel, Miss Amy J, after the boat collided with another fishing vessel approximately 35 miles northwest of Dry Tortugas, Tuesday.
A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and the Coast Guard Cutter Isaac Mayo (WPC-1112) crew arrived on scene and determined that two men from the Miss Amy J sustained injuries. The Jayhawk crew hoisted one man and the Issac Mayo crew embarked the other man. Both were transferred to Lower Keys Medical for higher level medical care.
Coast Guard Sector Key West watchstanders received multiple broadcasts via VHF-FM radio channel 16 from the operator of the fishing vessel, Southern Bell II, stating that he collided with the Miss Amy J. The Key West watchstanders directed the launch of the Air Station Clearwater Jayhawk aircrew and diverted the Cutter Isaac Mayo crew to assist.
“Backup communications are essential for mariners venturing offshore out of cell phone range,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Kellyann Sage, a Sector Key West watchstander. “In this case, the Coast Guard received five separate notifications of distress from the vessel, which allowed us to quickly determine their location and dispatch first responders.”
The cause of the collision is currently under investigation.