Coast Guard, with help from Sheriff’s Office, rescues Chalmette man and 5-year-old daughter from sinking boat in Lake Borgne

A Chalmette man said his main concern was the safety of his 5-year-old daughter when their fishing boat started to take on water Dec. 27 near the northern edge of Lake

Jonathan Mason, 35, and daughter, Gracie, had water in the 17-foot boat in the late afternoon, the engine was dead and fog was rolling in but he was able to paddle to a marshy shore, he said.

That’s where they were rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter crew, which had been summoned by the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office, which had also helped pinpoint the location for the rescue.

“My main thing was getting her (his daughter) to safety and keeping her dry,’’ Mason said on Wednesday. “She had leg cramps and was starting to shiver.’’

He said low tides had bottomed out the boat and apparently tore off its plug, and it began to take on water. Mason said he was concerned about the water until it leveled off in the boat.

Mason said he had gone out to fish for speckled trout.

The Sheriff’s Office received a call from a relative of the man about 4 p.m. saying Mason’s boat was sinking with two people aboard and the department contacted Mason and promptly notified the Coast Guard Sector New Orleans.

The Sheriff’s Office Communications Division and
Marine Division stayed in contact the whole time with the father and Coast Guard, helping pinpoint the location, until the man and daughter
were reached.

“It’s a good example of agencies working together to help the public,’’ Sheriff James Pohlmann said.

The Coast Guard launched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew at 4:50 p.m. The aircrew reached the boat at 5:10 p.m. The father and daughter were flown to Air Station New Orleans, where they were met by EMS, according to the Coast Guard.

The duo, reported to be in stable condition, were released to their family.