Boater arrested for allegedly firing a weapon at a Coast Guard rescue helicopter
Posted 7:15 a.m. on Sunday, September 18, 2022
NEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard Investigation Service arrested a boater near Venice, Louisiana, on Friday who allegedly fired a weapon at a Coast Guard rescue helicopter.
Coast Guard Eighth District watchmen initially received a distress signal early Thursday morning from an activated emergency position transmitter beacon (EPIRB) belonging to a 40-foot sailboat about 75 miles south of Southwest Pass , Louisiana. Watchstanders coordinated the launch of a Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-60 crew to respond.
Upon arrival at the scene, the aircraft attempted to lower a radio towards the vessel and observed a person and two dogs aboard the vessel. The person then pointed what appeared to be a gun at the helicopter. The crew heard objects hitting the aircraft and immediately left the scene due to aircraft and crew safety concerns. Upon returning to Air Station New Orleans, the crew observed impacts on the helicopter rotors consistent with projectiles from a firearm.
The Coast Guard then dispatched a fixed-wing aircraft, a cutter with Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS) and Federal Bureau of Investigation officers on board, and a crew of 45-foot Response Boat- Medium (RB -M) to follow the movement of the ship. Additionally, Coast Guard units remained close to the vessel to provide protection to nearby sailors.
On Friday morning, the Coast Guard took the person into custody without incident. The person was successfully transported to Venice, Louisiana and transferred to CGIS.
“Safety of life was our number one priority during this challenging incident,” said Coast Guard Eighth District spokesman Lt. Phillip VanderWeit. “Thanks to the professional and skillful work of our teams and our interagency partners, we were able to bring this incident to a peaceful resolution. The Coast Guard will continue to work with multiple levels of government to fully investigate this incident. »
The incident is still under investigation.