EMPIRE, Louisiana -- The Coast Guard Sector New Orleans Watchstanders rescued three people from shark-infested waters, 25 miles off the coast of Empire, Louisiana, after receiving a report of overdue boaters on Sunday.
A family member made the report after the boaters' did not return from a fishing trip Saturday evening.
A Coast Guard boat crew arrived on scene and witnessed two of the boaters fighting off sharks, along with injuries to both boaters' hands. The two boaters were pulled from the water by the boat crew before additional injuries could occur. An aircrew also hoisted the third boater from the water.
The two boaters recovered by the boat crew were transferred to a helicopter before being transferred to University Medical Center New Orleans. The boaters were reported to be stable, and were being treated for bites to their hands.
The Coast Guard reported that the boaters 24-foot center console boat reportedly sank at approximately 10 a.m. Saturday morning, stranding them without communication devices.
"If the family member had not notified the Coast Guard, and if these three boaters were not wearing life jackets, this could've been a completely different outcome," Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Keefe, Sector New Orleans Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator, said.