ASHTABULA, Ohio — Three men were rescued from Lake Erie, clinging to debris and a seat cushion, after their 21-foot boat sank Friday, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
The three men were out for a fishing trip, seven miles off-shore, when a large wave capsized their boat and threw the men in the water, according to the Coast Guard.
“The boat did sink. It’s out there in about 65-feet of water,” said Adam Lutz with the U.S. Coast Guard, who helped rescue the men.
The men were not wearing life jackets, according to the Coast Guard. One of the men is an 85-year-old diabetic, the Coast Guard said.
Officials do not know how long the men were floating in the water.
Just after noon Friday, people on a charter fishing boat found them and pulled them out of the water. The Coast Guard picked them up and brought them back to dry land.
“Two of them were, they were just exhausted. It gets pretty tiring out there when you are treading water,” Lutz said.
“The 85-year-old gentleman, he was not very coherent. He didn’t kind of know what was going on. He was having a little difficulty breathing,” said Lance Strand, with the Coast Guard, who also helped rescue the men.
All three victims were taken to the hospital where they were listed in stable condition.
The names of the victims have not been released.
Two of the men are from Pennsylvania; the other is from Ohio, according to the Coast Guard.
Lutz said the lesson to be learned here is about life jackets.
The men had life jackets, but they were not wearing them, and the jackets were stored away in the boat.
“The best case scenario is to wear them, but if you are not going to wear them, you might as well just keep them out, open, so if your boat were to sink or somebody were to fall over, it would be a lot easier to pitch it overboard,” Strand said.
*For additional boating safety tips from the United States Coast Guard, click HERE.