Tuesday, October 10, 2023, 3:04 a.m
REDONDO BEACH, Calif. (KABC) — An evening of basket netting for lobsters nearly ended in disaster for the crew aboard a small fishing boat.
On Saturday, Redondo Beach Fire, Los Angeles County lifeguards, the Coast Guard and other forces responded to a distress call to search for a ship in distress.
“They deployed a flare and our resources initially flowed to what they thought was the boat. The flare indicated the ship was further away,” said Chief Jason May of the Redondo Beach Fire Department.
Due to heavy fog, it took rescuers an hour to locate the boat. Inside the boat they found five injured passengers; Two with serious injuries and three with minor injuries were taken to hospital.
“The ship was involved in a serious accident,” May said. “The ship took on water. They couldn’t lower their anchor.”
What caused the accident? Authorities believe it is likely the boat was struck by a tanker after it veered off course and entered a 22-mile stretch of busy shipping lanes.
“They should have been aware of this. The shipping routes used by these large ocean-going vessels are clearly marked on the nautical charts,” May said.
The boat was two to three miles from Point Vicente Lighthouse, but it is unclear whether the passengers on board knew they were heading into dangerous territory because of the fog.
“The big tankers need several miles to change the course of the ship, even when they are aware that the ship is right in front of them,” May said. “So these smaller ships have to be aware of their surroundings, aware of it Be clear that you are fishing in an approved area and stay away from areas from which you are excluded, such as transit routes.”
While the Redondo Beach Harbor Patrol’s mission is to assist vessels in distress, they want boaters to be aware of weather conditions and shipping lanes before spending a day or evening on the water.
The incident is under investigation.
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