The U.S. Coast Guard responded early Tuesday morning to a Mayday call on vhf radio sent by fishing vessel “Little Angenette.” About an hour before sunrise the “Little Angenette” missed the entrance to Key West harbor. The captain initially reported that he’d hit a channel marker and was sinking fast.
In fact, the boat had climbed all the way out of the water and onto the rock jetty at Fort Zachary Taylor. At the time it appeared the boat was not taking on water. A couple of other fishing boats from Stock Island came to the rescue.
A crew member from the grounded boat swam a towline to one of the fishing boats. The line was then passed to the larger boat, the “Magelita” which attempted to unground the Angenette.
The Angenette’s owner is Elio Mantilla. He speaks only Spanish but explained his brother was the one who had been driving the boat. Apparently, no one was hurt during the crash. As of this publication the specific events leading up to the accident were not yet known.
From a distance the US Coast Guard kept an eye on the rescue. But as morning cruise ships slid in the background and into the harbor all efforts remained unsuccessful.
The Coast Guard decided to stop the rescue effort until a salvage plan is put together. The plan will have to include removal of the 150 gallons of fuel in the boat. The written salvage plan will also have to be approved by marine sanctuary officials.
By nightfall, the boat was still stranded and stormy weather gathering around Key West seemed to worsen the chance of a rescue.
This report was initially published on Tuesday evening September 13th. The vessel has since been removed from the rocks at Fort Zachary.