NEW ORLEANS — The US Coast Guard rescued three overdue boaters from shark-infested waters in Plaquemines Parish on Sunday.
Officials received calls from relatives of the boaters after the men did not return from a Saturday fishing trip, according to the Coast Guard.
Air and boat Coast Guard crews searched about 1,250 square miles and found the men about 25 miles off-shore from Empire, Louisiana.
Two of the boaters were fighting off sharks before they were pulled from the water. The coast guard says the men had injuries to their hands and were taken to the hospital.
All three boaters were wearing lifejackets and one had signs of hypothermia when they were rescued, according to the Coast Guard.
The boat that they were on reportedly sank around 10 a.m. Saturday morning and they did not have any communication devices. Video shows rescuers pulling them from the water around 7 p.m. the next day.
"We searched an area roughly the size of Rhode Island and are thankful to have found these missing boaters," said Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Keefe, a Sector New Orleans Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator. "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. We appreciate the assistance of the boating public, who were instrumental in helping identify possible areas where these boaters could have been operating before the vessel became in distress."
The following Coast Guard crews were involved in the search and rescue effort:
• A Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew
• A Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew
• A Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew
• Coast Guard Cutter Jacob Paroo crew
• Coast Guard Station Venice boatcrew