Savannah research vessel rescues stranded boaters

(UGA Skidaway Institute of Oceanography)

A Savannah research ship's crew turned into rescuers late last week.

The research vessel "Savannah" from the UGA Skidaway Institute of Oceanography was doing a routine research cruise off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Friday, June 8, when the Coast Guard called them to check on a vessel in distress.

When the ship reached the area, about three miles east of their position, they did a search and didn't find anything. The captain then began a search pattern and still couldn't find the boat in trouble, according to a news release.

Then, he noticed a faint radar target about two miles away. That's when they came across a capsized 24-foot fishing boat with two men clinging to the hull.

Officials say they may have been in the water for as long as five hours.

The two fishermen were identified as Justin DeSoto and Andy Odom from Port Canaveral. They told the captain their boat started taking on water and as the seas and wind picked up, they lost control.

The Coast Guard met up with the research vessel and took the men back to shore.

The "Savannah" is due back at the Skidaway Institute late Thursday night.

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