Brothers rescued by Coast Guard after boat sinks during tropical storm

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A pair of brothers had to be rescued by the Coast Guard after their boat sank in Tampa Bay during Tropical Storm Emily.

It was just before 10 a.m. when 911 dispatchers got a call about two men clinging to a navigation light in the Tampa Bay shipping channel.  A boat crew from Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg was on scene within minutes and quickly spotted the men despite the wind-driven rain.

Tung Le, 47, and Thanh Le, 41, were both rescued safely.  They later explained that they were fishing aboard their 17-foot boat in the bay when their engine died and the boat began taking on water. While the brothers worked on the inoperable pump, the boat drifted and struck the range light.

The brothers tied their boat off to the range light but were forced to cling to the structure and call for help when the boat sank.

"It was dying down when we were out there and finally everything started going wrong," Thanh Le told the Coast Guard. "The waves started hitting while we were trying to fix the bilge in the back and when we turned around we were drifting out."

Tropical Storm Emily formed quickly overnight and swept through the Bay Area with strong wind gusts and heavy rain.  The Coast Guard said it’s an example of why boaters need to be prepared for anything.

"Especially now that we are in the hurricane season, it's imperative that mariners double-check their local weather forecast before heading out on their next boating adventure," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Alejandro Diaz, a crewmember aboard the rescue boat from Station St. Petersburg. "It's also important to know your vessel's limitations and parameters prior to getting on the water.”