Collier County Sheriff's Office admits mistakes during marine rescue

Katie Jones

Photo: Video by fox4now.com

Collier County Sheriff's Office admits mistakes during marine rescue

CREATED Sep. 19, 2013

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- A Collier County Sheriff's office has revealed errors that delayed first responders trying to save six people off the coast of Marco Island on September 8th.

The boat's Captain, David Lee said they were coming back to shore when the boat suddenly stopped.

 "We're going down, the kids everybody we're all going in the water right now." Lee said.

The passengers called 911 several times as the boat quickly filled with water, eventually capsizing more than 20 miles from shore. An hour and thirty eight minutes later, help finally arrived. According to the investigation from the Sheriff's office, the dispatcher selected the non-emergency call of a disabled boat.

" He missed some of the key words which were very key words that the boat was sinking, they felt like they were in distress." CCSO Captain Roy Arigo said. 
 
Collier County Sheriff's Captain Roy Arigo said that non-emergency call type dispatched the wrong resources. At first, a waverunner and road officers were sent out instead of a rescue vessel.
According to the investigation, the dispatcher failed to identify the Captain's exact location by not properly recording his GPS coordinates.
 
"They're 7 digit numbers, so typically when you see a 7 digit number you might think it's a phone number." Cpt. Arigo said. 
 
FOX4 asked CCSO how they plan to fix these mistakes.
 
Katie Jones:  Do you think crews should have responded faster?
Cpt. Arigo: They could have been there quicker if we identified them sooner.
Katie Jones: What are resolutions to this?
Cpt. Arigo: "Unfortunately in this situation it was human error"
 
Cpt. Arigo said they will now go over training and proper emergency protocol with dispatchers  to make sure these types of mistakes don't happen again.
 
" In this instance we fell down on the job and we've picked ourselves up. We're trying to correct that short-coming and move forward." Cpt. Arigo said.
 
The dispatcher who took the first 9-1-1 call is still on the job. No disciplinary will be taken at this time but the Sheriff's Office isn't ruling it out.
 
 

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