5 rescued off SoCal coast after tanker apparently hits small fishing boat

Leticia Juarez Image
Tuesday, October 10, 2023
Tanker apparently hits small fishing boat off SoCal coast; 5 rescued
Five people on a fishing boat had to be rescued by Redondo Beach authorities after they were apparently hit by a tanker when they went off course.

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- An evening of hoop netting for lobsters nearly ended in a disaster for the crew on board a small fishing boat.

On Saturday, Redondo Beach Fire, Los Angeles County lifeguards, the Coast Guard and other resources deployed in search of a vessel in distress following a 911 call.

"They deployed a flare and our resources were going - initially to what they thought was the boat. The flare indicated the vessel was farther away," said Division Chief Jason May of the Redondo Beach Fire Department.

It took rescuers an hour to locate the boat due to heavy fog. Inside the boat they found five injured passengers; two with critical injuries and three with minor where taken to the hospital.

"The vessel was involved in a significant accident," May said. "The vessel was taking on water. They were unable to deploy their anchor."

So what caused the accident? Authorities say it's likely the boat was hit by a tanker after they went off course and into a 22-mile stretch of busy shipping lanes.

"They should have been aware. It's clearly marked on maritime charts the shipping lanes that are used for these large ocean-going vessels," May said.

The boat was located two to three miles off the Point Vicente Lighthouse, but it's unclear if those on board knew they wandered into dangerous territory due to foggy conditions.

"The large tankers, even if they're aware of the vessel being directly in front of them, it takes them several miles to change course of the vessel," May said. "So, it's on these smaller vessels to be aware of their surroundings, know that they're fishing in an approved area, to stay out of areas which they are excluded from like the transit lanes."

While it's the mission of the Redondo Beach Harbor Patrol to help vessels in distress, they want boaters to be aware of the weather conditions and shipping lanes before they depart for a day or evening out on the water.

The incident is under investigation.