Coast Guard arrests boater near Venice

Investigation as to "why" is ongoing
Coast Guard
Posted at 6:20 PM, Sep 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-17 19:20:28-04

NEW ORLEANS, L.a. — Coast Guard Investigative Services is looking for answers after arresting a boater near Venice, Louisiana on Friday.

The boater, who remains unidentified at this time, allegedly fired a weapon at a Coast Guard rescue helicopter. Coast Guard Eighth District watchstanders say they initially received a distress signal early Thursday morning from an activated Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) belonging to a 40-foot sailing vessel about 75 miles south of Southwest Pass, Louisiana.

Investigators tell KATC watchstanders coordinated the launch of a Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-60 aircrew to respond, and upon arriving on-scene, the aircraft tried to lower a radio down to the vessel, observing one person and two dogs aboard. That's when they say the person pointed what appeared to be a firearm at the helicopter. The aircrew reports hearing "objects" striking the aircraft and immediately left the scene because of aircraft and crew safety concerns.

Once back at Air Station New Orleans, the aircrew says they found impacts to the helicopter's rotors, consistent with bullets from a firearm. That's when investigators say the Coast Guard dispatched a fixed-wing aircraft, a cutter with Coast Guard Investigative Service and FBI agents aboard — as well as a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium (RB-M) boat crew to track the movement of the vessel involved. Along with this, investigators note other Coast Guard units remained on standby in the vessel's vicinity to ensure the protection of mariners nearby.

By the end of Friday morning, investigators say the Coast Guard took the person involved into custody without incident. Said person was then successfully moved to Venice and transferred to Coast Guard Investigative Services.

“Safety of life was our number one priority during this challenging incident,” says Lt. Phillip VanderWeit, spokesperson for the Eighth Coast Guard District. “Through the professional and skillful work of our crews and interagency partners, we were able to bring this incident to a peaceful resolution. The Coast Guard will continue to work across multiple levels of government to thoroughly investigate this incident.”

KATC will keep you updated as more information from this investigation becomes available.

Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.

To reach the newsroom or report a typo/correction, click HERE.

Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox. Select from these options: Breaking News, Evening News Headlines, Latest COVID-19 Headlines, Morning News Headlines, Special Offers

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Instagram

Subscribe to our Youtube channel