Coast Guard honors fishing crew for rescuing three men in rough Lake Erie waters

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GRAND RIVER, Ohio -- Wednesday, the Coast Guard honored a fishing crew that saved the lives of three people over the summer.

The waves were pretty rough on Lake Erie on August 25. That's when the Coast Guard got a distress call from a boat about eight miles off shore. The callers stated they were sinking and needed help fast, but because the waters were so rough the coast guard was swamped.

"We didn't have anybody in the vicinity at the time and we didn't have a good location for the mariners who were in distress." Coast Guard Lieutenant Junior Grade Daniel Banke said.

So, the Coast Guard sent out a urgent information broadcast, putting out all the information that they had and alerting boaters that people were in trouble.

D.B. One, a boat for D.B. Fishing Charters from Geneva on the Lake, was out on the lake with a small charter.  That's when they saw a 1,000 foot T Aconite Hauler, the Edgar B. Speer, do something that just doesn't happen.

"He completely stopped and 90 degrees and another 90 degrees then he'd done a 180 and like Anthony said, one of the biggest things was he just sat there. He didn't move, we've never seen that" D.B. Charters Captain Zack Mcbride said.

The sharp eyed lookout on the Edgar B. Speer spotted the needle in the haystack; three men clinging to a boat in rough water in the middle of Lake Erie. But the Speer was too big to pull along side of the boat. That's when the crew of the D.B. One went into action.

"We got out binoculars out and Captain Anthony said 'I saw something in the water.' That's all we needed to know. We didn't care what it was at that point, how many it was." McBride said

Guided by the Speer's crew the D.B. One maneuvered carefully to pick up the stranded men, but the rough waters of the lake weren't giving an inch.

"It was tough. We're in big waves and we had to, one at a time, pull each individual of that boat, individually. So ,the maneuverability wasn't the easiest thing to do but in that situation it just happened and we just did it." McBride said.

All three men survived the cold waters of Lake Erie.

And although the crew of db one lost a days fishing, their catch that day was nothing short of a one in a million shot that earned them the thanks of the survivors and the Coast Guard.

"You walk out the front door every morning and you don't know what will happen." McBride said.

The Coast Guard also had praise for the crew of the Edgar B. Speer for their help saving the stranded boaters.

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