Coast Guard rescues two missing Hernando jet skiers
Two jet skiers who went missing Sunday night off the Hernando County coast have been found safe, U.S. Coast Guard officials said. According to a news release, the two 22-year-old men - Daladier Nicholas Faust of Brooksville and Jacob Sterling Crooms of North Carolina - were recovered Monday around 7 a.m. by a Coast Guard helicopter about four miles west of Hernando Beach. The men were safely lifted from their jet ski and transported to the Coast Guard station in Clearwater for observation, according to the Coast Guard. A female friend of the boaters told Hernando County deputies the men left about 6 p.m. to launch an older-model jet-ski that Crooms had just purchased.The friend told deputies that she believed they were to launch from a boat ramp on Cabana Street. When the men did not return, the friend called deputies, who responded to the residence at 10771 Pine Island Drive around 10:35 p.m. The Coast Guard, along with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Hernando County deputies, began their search shortly after. Authorities searched into the night but stopped around 4 a.m. due to fog, deputies say. But once the fog cleared, the Coast Guard again dispatched a helicopter to the area. The men were located at the mouth of the Weeki Wachee channel, deputies say. They were removed from the water and flown to the air station in Clearwater for observation. The men did not have lights, flares, radio or a cell phone, but did have life jackets and a whistle, the Coast Guard said. The jet-ski will be recovered by the FWC, deputies say.