The Hillsborough County (FL) Sheriff's Office Marine Unit was able to save 11 victims of a capsized boat in Tampa Bay with the help of some local citizens who immediately responded when the vessel started sinking.

On Sunday, June 12, at approximately 5:24 p.m. a call came in about several people stranded in water just east of Beer Can Island (Longboat Key) after their boat capsized. The HCSO Aviation Unit first flew over the scene and confirmed a boat was upside down in the water, with several people swimming around it. A nearby boat with citizens was able to arrive immediately and began lifting victims into their craft.

Moments later, deputies with the HCSO Marine Unit arrived to find two male victims still hanging on to the hull of the overturned boat. One was wearing a life vest, while the other was not. As the deputies helped both men onto the HCSO 36-foot Intrepid, one of the victims complained of chest pains and shortness of breath. Deputies called the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Marine Unit, where paramedics transferred the victim as a medical emergency to a local hospital. The rest of the victims on the good Samaritan's boat were relocated to HCSO's boat and taken to the Apollo Beach Marina.

"Thanks to the willingness of some local boaters to help out, a group of 11 people, consisting of men, women, and children, were saved after they were stranded in the water when their seacraft capsized," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "Almost all the victims were wearing life preservers. We remind everyone to always have the right amount of life vests for each person on a boat, as well as keeping stock of all other safety and emergency equipment."

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office was aided in the rescue by the HCFR Marine Unit, the U.S. Coast Guard, and Sea Tow, which helped in the recovery of the upturned boat.

Hillborough County (FL) Sheriff's deputies and civilians rescues 11 people from Tampa Bay Sunday. (Photo: Hillsborough County SO) -

Hillborough County (FL) Sheriff's deputies and civilians rescues 11 people from Tampa Bay Sunday. (Photo: Hillsborough County SO)

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