Banning family rescued from Salton Sea after boat becomes disabled

June 26, 2001|By MARIO RENTERÍA, Staff Writer

SALTON SEA — A Banning family was rescued by state parks rangers after their boat suffered mechanical failure and drifted for several hours.

A press release from the California Department of Parks and Recreation stated the family went out for a day of sailing Sunday when their vessel "failed" and drifted for several hours.

The family had a cellular phone and called for help but was unsure of its position and unable to give directions to potential rescuers, the press release states.

The Imperial County Sheriff's Office provided a helicopter for an air search and park rangers searched the lake by boat for about six hours before locating the family about midnight.


High winds, heavy waves and nightfall prolonged the search.

Steve Horvits, a spokesman for the state Department of Parks and Recreation, said the family suffered no injuries.

"They were very lucky we found them," said Horvits.

"There are times when it ends happily and nobody gets hurt," he added.

Winds exceeding 20 mph and waves peaking at 5 feet broke over the bow of the state's rescue boat Sunday evening.

"The sea is more than a lake," said Horvits.

"We are becoming aware more fishermen are starting to come out to the sea and we know these types of incidents are going to happen, so we want to warn them," he said.

The press release states boaters should carry signaling devices such as flares and powerful lights. A cellular phone and a global-positioning unit should also be carried.

Rangers encourage boaters to ensure their vessel is in good mechanical shape and that they have plenty of fuel aboard with enough water, food and clothing for a possible extended stay, the press release states.

For more information on boating safety at the Salton Sea, call the Salton Sea Recreation Area at 393-3052 or visit the Web site at

Staff Writer Mario Rentería can be reached at 337-3435.

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