Boats were sinking in rough waters on windy Saturday
A group of four people boating in Lac Des Allemands were brought to safety Saturday after their boats took damage and left them stranded.
The St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office (SJSO) received a call from a member of the group who conveyed their boats were sinking. When the SJSO’s search and rescue team arrived, one of the boats sank while the other was afloat and taking on water. The stranded group was found near a small cluster of trees in a marshy area.
According to Lt. Charles Wale, the search and rescue team’s commander, the members of the stranded group had traveled down from Baton Rouge and took to the open water in their 15 foot flatboats. But unfamiliarity with the area combined with some tough weather conditions led to the four finding themselves stuck.
“We had some pretty high winds and rough water on Saturday,” Wale said. “They were unfamiliar with the area … we worked with them to get a GPS location of where they were and were able to rescue them right away.”
The conditions prevented the officers from navigating the rescue boat close enough to the stranded group, so deputies Seth Rome and John Norsworthy entered by foot and brought them to safety. Each of the rescued people appeared to be in good health and declined medical treatment, according to the SJSO.
Those officers were part of a rescue team effort that also included Jarrod Laborde, Blane Rome Sr. and Garrett Mackles.
Wale said each member of the group was wearing a life vest and standing in water approximately waist deep, so they were not likely in danger of drowning.
“They were stuck for sure, though. They did the right thing by making the call,” Wale said.
“They were stuck for sure … They did the right thing by making the call.” – St. John the Baptist Parish Lt. Charles Wale
That said, he said it represents a strong reminder for those who do take to the water to secure the proper equipment and take the necessary precautions to avoid falling into a similar scenario — or one much worse.
“Unfortunately, we get boating incidents several times a season … it happens more than one thinks,” Wale said. “It’s important to understand the waterways you’re in and what you need to have with you for safety.”