Off-Duty Firefighters Rescue Boaters in Key Largo

From about 500 feet away, Jacksonville (FL) firefighter Matt McCormack said he could see a boat full of people bailing frantically, reports The Florida Times-Union.

“The whole front of the boat is nosing down in the water,” he said on the phone from the Florida Keys, where he and some fellow firefighters were lobster fishing. “They are bailing water out of the boat by the coolerful.”

From their boat, McCormack and St. Johns County Fire Rescue Lt. Marc Grabbert started gathering people from the water, starting with their own crew looking for lobsters.

The five firefighters and a 15-year-old nephew of one of the men then headed for the rapidly sinking second boat where by now all six of its occupants were in the water.

“There was trash and seat cushions and people everywhere,” McCormack said.

He said they called the Coast Guard and two of the firefighters went into the water to help the victims, who were on an outing from Fort Lauderdale.

No one was harmed and all got aboard the 22-foot center console fishing boat belonging to Jacksonville firefighter David Squires.

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