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Boat yard now a crime lab: Coast Guard, police respond to “boat in distress”

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) --The U.S. Coast Guard and Milwaukee Police are investigating an accident on Lake Michigan that happened Thursday night, August 14th that sent three to the hospital.

A group of fisherman were on their way back from a fishing trip to McKinley Marina when their boat ran head on into a wall of rocks and steel. The Coast Guard, Police and Milwaukee Fire all responded to a "boat in distress."

"Once my guys arrived on scene we found a 25-foot pleasure craft with four people on board and they hit the wall, they figure traveling about twenty-five miles an hour! Sometimes at night, it's very easy to get disoriented.  It's hard to see anything on the water at night." said Eric Hopperdietzel of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The men were tossed around on the boat and some of the injuries are serious.

"Different people had broken ribs, lacerations to the face," said Hopperdietzel.

At the same time, the boat started taking on water.  It was still draining Friday afternoon, while the Coast Guard trained with Milwaukee firefighters.

"Teaching them how to do search and rescue patterns just like the Coast Guard does," said Hopperdietzel.

Several agencies patrol Lake Michigan on a regular basis.  The Coast Guard says it makes sense to train together because they often respond together -- just like Thursday night.

"We removed everybody from the boat onto our vessel. And then we transported them to a waiting ambulance on the shore," said Hopperdietzel.

The Coast Guard and Milwaukee Police are investigating jointly.  FOX6 News is told the operator of the boat was going to have a blood-alcohol test and are waiting on those results.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the U.S. Coast Guard, Sector Lake Michigan which is based in Milwaukee.


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