Boaters rescued off Marco Island questioned by law enforcement after being saved

Reporter: Lauren Leslie Writer: Matthew Seaver
(Credit: WINK News)

Three people were found safe after they briefly went missing following a fishing trip. The Coast Guard says they were more than 20 miles west offshore of Marco Island and are now investigating the situation.

State, federal, and local officials worked all day on Wednesday to rescue the three men and then questioned them for hours.

No arrests were made, but the Coast Guard said this is still an active investigation.

The three men are back safe with their family tonight after being stranded off the coast of Marco Island.

They sent an SOS to family members Tuesday after encountering bad weather while out fishing.

The family members tried to locate them on the water but had no luck and turned around after having issues with their boat.

That’s when they called law enforcement for help, not knowing it would turn into an all-day investigation.

WINK News Safety and Security specialist Rich Kolko said, “some bit of intelligence got into law enforcement’s hands today that required them to send out a response of federal state and local officials to try and figure out what was going on, on the water there.”

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued the men, and once back on land, federal, state, and local agencies were waiting to get answers and causing some tense moments at the marina.

“Once CBP gets intelligence that either deals with illegal materials coming into the country or possibly people being brought into the country they work with other entities,” said Kolko, who said sometimes law enforcement is just gathering intelligence. “If they didn’t have enough information that a crime actually occurred, they let the people go and if they determine that a crime did occur they’ll have no problem finding them again.”

After hours of questions and multiple searches, the men were free to go, something law enforcement on the scene said they could do the entire time.

The boaters were carrying gasoline in an unauthorized container. Law enforcement said this was a situation to educate the owner, but they said they are still putting pieces of the puzzle together, and it is an active investigation.

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