Coast Guard rescues 26 people from sinking boat

Posted at 11:22 AM, Sep 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-03 17:05:47-04

More than two dozen people on board a 63-foot sport-fishing boat were rescued in Mexican waters Saturday morning near the Coronado Islands southwest of San Diego, according to authorities.

The U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Diego Joint Harbor Operations Center heard the call for help at about 5 a.m. that the American-flagged vessel Invicta had crashed into rocks.

The Invicta was reported to be taking on water while it was anchored and the crew were deploying their life rafts, according to Coast Guard officials. Five crewmembers and 21 passengers were on board.

Coast Guard officials immediately began transmitting an urgent marine information broadcast and obtained permission from the Mexican government to enter Mexico's airspace and territorial waters for the rescue.

A Sector San Diego MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew was immediately launched and the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Sea Otter was diverted to assist the passengers and crew.

The crew of the 35-foot commercial fishing vessel Sweet Marie overheard the calls for help and diverted to assist the Invicta, the Coast Guard said.

Sweet Marie's crew arrived on scene and safely transported all 26 passengers and crewmembers aboard their vessel and began to make way toward San Diego.

The Sea Otter crew arrived and transferred them aboard the cutter, then safely transported them to the San Diego Harbor Police dock, on Shelter Island.

All passengers and crewmembers were wearing lifejackets.

There was one report of a back injury, but the passenger declined treatment.

The Invicta reportedly broke apart. The U.S. Coast Guard was investigating the incident.