Coast Guard airlifts family from Sonoma creek

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter hoisted three stranded boaters to safety after their boat became disabled in a creek near San Pablo on Friday, a Coast Guard official said today.

According Lt. Theo Vaughan, spokesman for the Coast Guard Sector San Francisco, the 18-foot recreational vessel had two adults and a seven year-old child aboard when it became disabled in shallow water in Sonoma Creek near the northern portion of San Pablo on Friday morning.

All three were wearing lifejackets and were not in distress, Vaughan said.

The Coast Guard monitored the situation throughout the day, and attempted to coordinate a rescue with commercial towing vessels in the area, however, those attempts were unsuccessful.

Coast Guard Station Vallejo launched a rescue boat to assist, but the shallow water prohibited the boat from getting to the disabled vessel.

By Friday evening, as the family’s cellphone, their only source of communication, began to loose power, Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco diverted a helicopter with a rescue crew aboard and hoisted the three to safety, Vaughan said.

Capt. Greg Stump, commander of Coast Guard Sector San Francisco said, “The owner of the vessel made the right decision to contact the Coast Guard at the first sign of trouble.”

Stump added that it’s critical that vessel owners are well-prepared and have life saving equipment, including jackets, food and water, signaling devices and a VHF-FM radio and a float plan issued to friends and family.