Coast Guardsman Saves 4 People

August 4, 2011 Updated Aug 4, 2011 at 5:36 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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Coast Guardsman Saves 4 People

August 4, 2011 Updated Aug 4, 2011 at 5:36 PM EDT

( release) – A U.S. Coast Guard boat crew from Station Niagara, N.Y., brought four people safely to shore after three of them jumped into the Niagara River, fearing the boat was about to burst into flames Thursday afternoon.

The 911 dispatcher who notified the communications watchstander at Station Niagara at 12:30 p.m., received a call from a good Samaritan who witnessed people entering the water from the smoking vessel near the Youngstown Yacht Club in Youngstown, N.Y.

A boatcrew in a 25-foot Response Boat-Small from the station launched and arrived at the location, which was about 1,000 yards from the station, about one minute later.

There, they found three women in the water with life jackets on and a man still aboard the 21-foot vessel, also wearing a life jacket.

In addition to carrying a life jacket for everyone aboard a vessel, the Coast Guard urges mariners to wear life jackets at all times while underway since accidents can occur quickly and unexpectedly.

The 51-year-old man told responders he instructed his wife, 48, his daughter, 19, and the other woman, also 19, to get into the water because the vessel was smoking and he feared it was about to catch fire and explode.

The Coast Guardsmen brought all four people aboard the RB-S and took them to Station Niagara, where they were evaluated and released by emergency medical technicians.

Firemen in a Lewiston, N.Y., fireboat also responded to the call and once on scene, went aboard the vessel and ensured it was not actually on fire and was only smoking. They then towed the vessel to a boat ramp at Fort Niagara.