13 people rescued after boat takes on water in Pasco County

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Over a dozen people had to be rescued after their boat took on water in Pasco County.

Pasco Fire Rescue said the 20-foot fiberglass pontoon boat capsized near Anclote River Park Sunday afternoon, sending all 13 occupants into the water.

"It was like a modern-day Titanic,” said Lauren Decker, who was one of the 13 passengers on the boat. “The front was going up in the air and the back was going down, and we were just slowly sinking.” 

Decker said it happened so fast, she didn’t even have time to send out a distress call. 

“I said we need to turn around, let’s turn around. As we’re turning around, a wave comes over the side, and that’s when we started sinking,” she said.

Thankfully a man nearby saw what was unfolding.

“We said we’re sinking, we’re sinking, come help us! And he stopped what he was doing and helped,” she said.

The women said in the panic, they jumped off the sinking boat without life vests. Shawn Whited with Pasco County Fire Rescue said they were struggling with more than just the windy weather. 

“A lot of them weren’t very [good] swimmers. So a lot of them were panicking because they couldn’t swim, or weren’t very good at swimming. It’s very windy out there today, very choppy. Seas out there are about three to four feet,” he said.

The unidentified man was able to pull the group onto his boat until help arrived.

Two patients were transported to an area hospital.