Boater arrested allegedly firing a weapon at Coast Guard rescue helicopter

(Source: MGN)
Published: Sep. 17, 2022 at 9:21 PM CDT
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VENICE, La. (WVUE) - The Coast Guard Investigative Service arrested a boater near Venice, Friday who allegedly fired a weapon at a Coast Guard rescue helicopter.

Reports say the Coast Guard Eighth District received a distress signal early Thursday morning from a 40-foot sailing vessel about 75 miles south of Southwest Pass, Louisiana. Watchstanders coordinated the launch of a Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-60 aircrew to respond.

Upon arrival, the aircraft attempted to lower a radio to the boat and observed one person and two dogs aboard. The person then pointed what appeared to be a firearm at the helicopter.

The aircrew heard objects striking the aircraft and immediately departed the scene due to aircraft and crew safety concerns. Upon returning to Air Station New Orleans, the aircrew observed impacts to the helicopter rotors consistent with projectiles from a firearm.

The Coast Guard dispatched a fixed-wing aircraft, a cutter with Coast Guard Investigative Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents aboard and a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew to track the boat’s movement.

The driver of the boat was arrested Friday morning without incident.

“Safety of life was our number one priority during this challenging incident,” said 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.”

The incident remains under investigation.

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