In a remarkable display of courage and skill, deputies from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office (PCSO) Marine and Environmental Lands Unit managed to stop a driverless runaway boat speeding at approximately 41 miles per hour.
The incident occurred three-quarters of a mile off of Coquina Key and St. Pete Pier on July 30, and the entire operation was captured on bodycam footage.
The Call to Action
Deputy Jillian Constant and Deputy Travis Fernandes responded to a call from the U.S. Coast Guard requesting assistance with a "runaway vessel." The driver of the boat had fallen off and was rescued by a good Samaritan, but the vessel posed a serious risk to anyone and anything in its path.
The Coast Guard's Attempt
The Coast Guard initially attempted to deploy prop fowling devices to stop the vessel but was unsuccessful. The situation was dire, and the PCSO deputies were called upon to intervene.
The Daring Maneuver
Deputy Constant, 32, expertly maneuvered a second boat alongside the runaway vessel, intercepting it in a curve. Her partner, Deputy Fernandes, 31, leaped off their boat and onto the deck of the unmanned boat, quickly bringing it to a stop.
The Importance of Training
Both deputies emphasized the importance of their experience and training in handling the situation safely. "We drive boats 10 hours a day, four times a week," Deputy Fernandes told WTVT. "We train for this stuff. We train for all sorts of incidents."
The deputies noted that the entire situation could have been avoided if the captain who fell overboard had been wearing a kill switch. This incident serves as a reminder of the importance of safety measures and the incredible skill and bravery of our first responders.
The successful intervention of the PCSO deputies is a testament to their valor, dedication, and expertise. Their actions not only prevented potential damage but also showcased the readiness and resilience of our law enforcement officers.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below:
[Embed the tweet showing the video here]
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