Boater Arrested for Firing Weapon at Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter

Louisiana boater arrested after firing at Coast Guard helicopter – CNN

A boater near Venice, Louisiana, was arrested Friday after allegedly firing a weapon at Coast Guard personnel responding to a distress call.

As reported in a Saturday news release, the Coast Guard responded on Thursday to a distress signal from a 40-foot sailboat that was “approximately 75 miles south of Southwest Pass, Louisiana.” The Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter crew to assist the distressed boater.

According to the release, after officials arrived on the scene, the suspect 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 the Air Station in New Orleans, Coast Guard crews discovered that the helicopter had been shot.

The boater was arrested on Friday “without incident” after FBI agents and the Coast Guard Investigative Service returned in a fixed-wing airplane and response boat. In its statement, the Coast Guard did not name the boater or specify the charges against him.

The safety of life was our number one priority during this challenging incident, said Lt. Phillip VanderWeit, spokesperson for the Eighth Coast Guard District. “Thanks to the professional and skillful work of our crews and interagency partners, we were able to resolve this incident peacefully.”

According to the release, the Coast Guard will continue to investigate this incident across multiple levels of government.

Louisiana’s Venice is 75 miles south of New Orleans, west of the Mississippi River.

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