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Two men rescued after boat takes on water

Alex Green • Jun 18, 2014 at 12:00 AM


Two Alabama men went overboard in Lake Erie Tuesday morning when their boat started sinking during a fishing trip near Toussaint Reef.

U.S. Coast Guard crews located and assisted Walton Sanford and Greg Mohney near Toussaint Reef after they had been in the water for more than an hour.

Locals from Boat U.S. in Port Clinton located the men following a Coast Guard radio announcement. They took Sanford and Mohney on their boat and towed their boat, then turned them over to Coast Guard crews who took them to shore.

Other than gas burns experienced by Mohney, the pair is healthy following the troubling incident, according to Sanford.

Coast Guard personnel declined to comment at the scene, though Sanford, 78, seemed to be in good spirits and had plenty to say.

"It was an experience," he said. "I've never had anything like this happen."

The duo set off from Beef Creek Marina in Carroll Township, a few miles east of Davis-Besse, around 7 a.m. Tuesday.

After a few hours of some lethargic fishing, Sanford said, their trip livened up quickly.

"We just stayed out there too long," he said.

They noticed water seeping in the 20-foot bass boat through a vent pipe and they knew they were in trouble, Sanford said.

Shortly thereafter, the boat's motor stopped.

"We knew we were in trouble when the motor died," Sanford said.

The boat began to slowly sink, and water began to increasingly flow throughout the watercraft.

"There was fishing equipment everywhere, scattered around," Sanford said.

They stayed atop the boat for for a few minutes — long enough to make a mayday call — but before long they were forced to enter the water while wearing their life jackets.

Sanford said it felt like they were in the water between an hour and 90 minutes. Although it was an extended period of time, Sanford looked on the bright side.

"The water was nice, it's about 75 degrees," he said.

Coast Guard crews arrived to transport Sanford and Mohney to the city docks on the Portage River in Port Clinton.

Port Clinton police and EMS assisted at the docks.

Sanford was not overly troubled by the incident. He said he's just happy they survived.

"(Expletive) happens," he said.

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