The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:
(NEW ORLEANS) — The Coast Guard assisted in the rescue of five people after their 40-foot vessel caught fire near Petit Bois Island on Friday.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Mobile, Ala., received a distress call from the International Emergency Response Coordination Center reporting an emergency position indicating radio beacon alert in the vicinity of Petit Bois Island.
The Coast Guard responded on scene with a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans and a 45-foot response boat-medium from Coast Guard Station Pascagoula.
The 40-foot Viking cabin cruiser Persuasion I was on fire with five passengers aboard. The passengers abandoned ship onto a life raft and were all confirmed accounted for by the helicopter crew.
A good Samaritan offshore supply vessel, Gloria May, aided in fighting the fire. A second good Samaritan vessel, Kay Ann, aided in transferring the five passengers to the Coast Guard 45-foot response boat-medium which safely transported the passengers to Station Pascagoula.
The vessel completely sank and the life raft was recovered. The Coast Guard will conduct an on-scene pollution assessment. There were no injuries as a result of the incident.
“This vessel was very prepared," said Coast Guard Capt. Joseph Snowden. “Not only were they able to escape to a life raft, but they were able to issue a mayday broadcast and follow it up with an automated distress call that included a GPS position allowing us to proceed directly to their precise location. We also received excellent support from two good Samaritans.”
The Coast Guard recommends mariners to equip their vessels with VHF radios, GPS devices, and to ensure they have all required safety gear onboard before starting their voyages.