The Coast Guard rescued three boaters from Louisiana waters on Sunday, two of whom were “fighting off sharks” when rescuers arrived, officials said.
The trio were on a fishing trip, but their 24-foot boat sank around 10 a.m. Saturday and a family member reported being late that night, the Coast Guard said in a statement. pronunciation Monday.
When crews aboard a 45-foot Coast Guard helicopter and boat found them in the Around 2 p.m. Sunday, the boat crew “witnessed two of the boaters repelling sharks,” along with injuries to the hands of both boaters, the Coast Guard said.
The three were retrieved from the water about 25 miles off Empire, Louisiana, south of New Orleans.
Rescuers used a boat and helicopter, and the three were flown to a New Orleans hospital, where they were stable, the Coast Guard said.
The sharks were reportedly blacktips, Coast Guard Petty Officer Ryan Graves said.
The species, found year-round in the Gulf of Mexico, can grow to about 6 feet in length, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The Coast Guard credited the family member for late reporting the skippers and the fact that they were all wearing life jackets to aid in the successful rescue.
The boaters also had varying degrees of hypothermia because of how long they spent in the water, Graves said.