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ASHTABULA, Ohio (AP) — The Coast Guard came to the aid of five people clinging to a cooler in Lake Erie after their boat was swamped by a wave far off the Ohio coast, authorities said.

The 22-foot boat was about 10 miles off the coast of Ashtabula on Saturday when it was struck, a Coast Guard spokesman said. Someone called 911 for help and stayed in touch with rescuers while a Coast Guard helicopter crew from Detroit Air Force Base diverted from another rescue mission on Lake Erie to reach them.


The helicopter crew was soon able to lift the five uninjured victims and transport them to Northeast Ohio Regional Airport in Jefferson, Ohio. Officials noted that all five were wearing life jackets, emphasizing the need for boaters to always wear one.

The helicopter crew then refueled and returned to the original rescue mission in the water off the Perry Nuclear Power Plant in North Perry, Ohio. Rescuers eventually rescued two people wearing life jackets and pulled another person from the water, who later died.

Authorities also launched a search for a fourth person who could not be located, but that search was called off late Saturday.