Saltwater – SoCal bait boat sinks, crew swim to safety on ice chests

CAPT. JACOB MORENO talks with paramedics after having been pulled from the chilly wa- ters and brought ashore. IMAGE FROM KEYNEWS VIDEO

SANTA MONICA/REDONDO BEACH — Last Saturday night the Redondo Beach Sportfishing bait boat Matador ended up on the bottom in 60 feet of water off Topaz, according to sources including Phil Friedman of Friedman Adventures.

He’d gathered info from the local harbor office as well as other sources. In addition, KEYNews had video of the scene at the dock, with an interview of a person who had been on the pier at the time when cries for help were first heard and reported.

Their version had a “sailboat” having sunk, with 4 persons rescued from the water. As no one had actually seen the vessel, or initially the people in the water, just hearing them out in the dark, it’s easy to grasp how that bit could have grown legs from being a suggestion to knowledge of events.

Yet a minute into their video, there was Capt. Jacob Moreno of the Matador bait boat, himself in a rescue vehicle, alert and talking.

CAPT. JACOB MORENO talks with paramedics after having been pulled from the chilly waters and brought ashore. IMAGE FROM KEYNEWS VIDEO

Friedman said one of the rescuers told him they were just minutes from fatal hypothermia when they were pulled from the water. Fortunately all 4 were rescued. The story, as Friedman had heard it, was a storage compartment had quickly flooded and the boat rolled, causing the safety gear to become inaccessible.

The crew had found ice chests floating and used those to assist them as they swam toward shore, eventually getting close enough to the pier for their calls for help to be heard. Friedman had information the vessel had been located and divers deployed to verify it, but not much more so far.

He said Capt. Moreno had positive words with respect to the 2023 season and Redondo Sportfishing, making clear the landing would get past this challenge.

BAIT BOAT MATADOR, Redondo Beach Sportfishing. Sunk in just 60 feet of water, the question is, will she be raised to fish again? PHOTO CREDIT MERIT MCCREA