Deputies, good Samaritans rescue 11 from sinking boat off Beer Can Island

An evening on the water turned into an emergency for 11 boaters whose vessel capsized and began sinking Sunday evening near Beer Can Island. 

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says it received a call around 5:24 p.m. about several people stranded in the water after their boat capsized east of Beer Can Island. 

The sheriff’s office aviation unit spotted the upside-down vessel with several people swimming around it. Deputies say a nearby boat immediately approached the overturned vessel and began lifting the victims into their craft.  

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Two men were still hanging on to the hull of the upside-down boat when the HCSO Marine Unit arrived moments later. 

Deputies say as they were helping the men on the HCSO boat, one of the victims began complaining about chest pains and shortness of breath. He was taken to an area hospital by Hillsborough County Fire Rescue. 

The rest of the victims on the good Samaritan's boat were relocated to HCSO's boat and taken to the Apollo Beach Marina.

"Thanks to the willingness of some local boaters to help out, a group of 11 people, consisting of men, women, and children, were saved after they were stranded in the water when their seacraft capsized," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "Almost all the victims were wearing life preservers. We remind everyone to always have the right amount of life vests for each person on a boat, as well as keeping stock of all other safety and emergency equipment."