IMMOKALEE, Fla. - A family from Immokalee is thanking first responders after they found themselves stranded on Lake Trafford in eastern Collier County. The family took their boat for a cruise on Sunday afternoon when their engine stopped and a storm moved in.
"They were nervous, they were cold," said Chief Paul Anderson with the Immokalee Fire District.
Two children and three adults were in the boat when the outboard motor failed. The boaters tried paddling to land but they only had one oar.
"I think the wind was pushing them in the opposite direction they were needing to go," said Chief Anderson.
The family, unprepared for the stormy weather called 911. Immokalee firefighters rushed to the Lake Trafford Marina to save the family, but the department doesn't have its own rescue boat. Instead of waiting for one from North Naples, rescuers borrowed a pontoon from the marina. When firefighters arrived to rescue the boaters, they were soaked.
"They were suffering from mile hypothermia from being out in the rain in the cold rain with no way to keep warm," said Chief Anderson.
Chief Anderson tells Wink News this incident is prompting him to push for the department to get a rescue boat of its own. He says firefighters will continue training in water rescue.
He's also reminding boaters to check the weather forecast before heading out on the water.