Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story misspelled Connor Erbe’s name.
An off-duty Port Sanilac firefighter and his friend helped rescue?two people after their?sailboat had capsized in Lake Huron Saturday.?
Shortly before 12:30 p.m., Sanilac Central Dispatch received a call?from a person?onshore in the 5500 block of North Lakeshore Road in Forester Township that they?could see a?smaller sailboat-type vessel that was overturned in Lake Huron and subjects in the water, according to the Sanilac County Sheriff Department.?
Off-duty Port Sanilac firefighter Matthew Washe and his friend Quentin Hooper were on a personal boat when they heard the call for help via his emergency radio.
Washe and Hooper said they knew the water temperature was low?and they were already on the water, so they sprang into action.?
＾There was no hesitation, as soon as we heard the call we were gone,￣ Washe said.?
Hooper said after an approximately 30-minute drive north, he spotted the capsized sailboat, but no one was in the water. The pair were radioing central dispatch as they searched for the vessel and the people.?
Washe and Hooper started traveling towards the shore to search for the people in the water. Hooper’s cousin,?Connor Erbe, also joined in the search on his boat.?
Hooper said they found the people in the water, who turned out to be a 67-year-old Forestville man and his 62-year-old wife, approximately a mile from their capsized boat. They estimated the sailboat was about 3?miles from shore and the couple were 1 to 2 miles out when they were found.?
After a couple tries, Hooper and Washe pulled the couple onto their boat using a rope and covered them with blankets and towels, they said. Members?of the Sanilac County Sheriff Marine Division, who arrived soon after the couple was located, assisted at the scene.
The woman could barely move or talk, while the man was in better shape, they said.
They took the couple to Delaware Park, but were hindered from getting to shore by the rocky bottom. Emergency crews helped bring the couple to?shore, and they were turned over?to medical personnel from the Port Sanilac Fire Department and Marlette EMS.
Washe said from when they heard the initial call, the rescue took about an hour.?
Marlette EMS transported the two subjects to Deckerville Hospital for hypothermia, the sheriff department said.?
The wind played a factor in causing their Hobie Cat Sailboat to capsize, the sheriff department said. They were wearing flotation devices.?
Port Sanilac Fire Chief Doug Moran said Washe is a dedicated member of the fire department.
“I¨m very happy with how vigilant and how his quick actions?worked to leap into action to help somebody,” Moran said.?
The U.S. Coast Guard and the Salso immediately dispatched to the scene. The Sanilac County Sheriff¨s Office AERO Squadron, and the Sanilac County Sheriff¨s Office Dive Team were placed on standby.
Contact Laura Fitzgerald at (810) 941-7072 or at email@example.com.