Rescued were Virginia Beach, Virginia, native David Johnson, 25, and Weeki Wachee, Florida, natives Kenneth Oakleaf, 28, Matt Fried, 41, and Fried’s 12-year-old son.
At 5:41 a.m. Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg watchstanders received a 911 transfer call from Hernando County dispatch reporting three people and a child were in the water clinging to life jackets. The boaters stated they were fishing when Oakleaf’s 14-foot boat sank.
An Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew was launched, arrived on scene at 7:11 a.m. and hoisted the boaters out of the water. The men and boy were transported to the air station and evaluated by Sunstar paramedics. There were no reported injuries.
Johnson, stated the boat sank because all the men moved to one side of the boat and the boat flipped. He said thankfully the life jackets were placed in an easily accessible area, so they quickly floated to the top. Recalling the rescue, Johnson was simple, “I just want to say thank you.”