U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Buffalo Station responded to a distress call and rescued two persons from a sinking pleasure boat in the upper Niagara River on Thursday.
At 6:13 p.m., agents assigned to the marine unit were patrolling the upper Niagara River and received a radio-distress call from the U.S. Coast Guard. The distress call stated that a vessel, in the vicinity of Smith Boys Marina, was taking on water and two persons were aboard.
The U.S. Border Patrol vessel quickly reacted, as it was the closest first-responder in the area. Agents noticed a male and female aboard the disabled vessel and observed the vessel’s anchor was down, but not holding due the strong current.
Agents maneuvered alongside the disabled vessel and observed it was in disrepair with no safe points to tie off or engage a tow. Due to the strong current and no other viable options, agents determined it was too dangerous to leave the boaters aboard and transferred them to the safety of the Border Patrol vessel. Agents then informed the U.S. Coast Guard the disabled boat was still adrift, and they had transferred all persons to the Border Patrol vessel.
A short time later, the U.S. Coast Guard arrived and took control of the disabled vessel.
The boaters had no apparent injuries nor required medical attention, but were exhausted due to an unsuccessful attempt to paddle the boat to shore.
“Another great job by our agents,” said Patrol Agent in Charge Jeffrey Wilson of the Buffalo Border Patrol Station. “It shows the importance of having a well-maintained boat, because things can go real bad real-quick when the water is still cold, and the river current is unforgiving”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection welcomes assistance from the community. Citizens can report suspicious activity to the U.S. Border Patrol and remain anonymous by calling 1-800-331-0353 toll free.