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Coast Guard rescues three men off Sugarloaf Key

Three men who were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard off Sugarloaf Key stand on the deck of a Medium Endurance Response boat Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2018.
Three men who were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard off Sugarloaf Key stand on the deck of a Medium Endurance Response boat Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2018.

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued three men off the Lower Florida Keys as they clung to their vessel, which capsized about six miles offshore.

Sector Key West received a report from one of the men calling on VHF radio channel 16 that their 30-foot vessel had overturned, according to a Coast Guard press release.

Crews on a 45-foot Coast Guard patrol boat reached the men Wednesday afternoon about six miles south of Sugarloaf Key to find one of them on the hull and the other two men holding on to the vessel.

None of the men were wearing life jackets, according to the agency. The Coast Guard identified the men as Sean Johnson, 49, Craig Zetwick, 54, and Ken Kuhfus, 47.

The Coast Guard commended the men for having a radio to call for immediate aid, but urged boaters to have all the necessary safety equipment on their vessel at the ready, especially life jackets.

“While the utilization of a VHF-FM radio was crucial in the success of this mission, it’s important to make sure that boaters have all of their safety equipment in order before they set sail,” Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Murray, an agency spokesman, said in a statement. “Equipment such as flares, life jackets and an electronic position indication radio beacon are crucal in capsized vessel situations and play a big factor in the success of a rescue.”

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