Disclaimer: All persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty
NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — A boater was arrested Friday morning after he reportedly fired a gun at a Coast Guard rescue helicopter. An investigation has been opened on the incident.
Watchstanders with the Coast Guard Eighth District say Thursday morning, they responded to a call for help coming from a 40-foot vessel just 75 miles south of Southwest Pass, Louisiana. The Air Station New Orleans MH-60 aircrew was activated and when they arrived they found a person and two dogs on board.
As the aircrew attempted to lower down a radio to the person, they reportedly pointed what looked like a gun at the helicopter, according to the Coast Guard. The crew heard things hitting the aircraft and immediately left the scene in an effort to protect the crew.
Investigations revealed that the helicopter’s rotors were struck with “projectiles from a firearm”. While still in the area of the boat, the Coast Guard called in a fixed-wing aircraft, a cutter with Coast Guard Investigative Service, and FBI agents along with a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium to follow the boat.
The person was arrested Friday morning and taken to Venice, La. before being transferred to Coast Guard Investigative Service.
Spokesperson for the Eighth Coast Guard District Lt. Phillip VanderWeit released a statement on the incident:
“Safety of life was our number one priority during this challenging incident. Through the professional and skillful work of our crews and interagency partners, we were able to bring this incident to a peaceful resolution. The Coast Guard will continue to work across multiple levels of government to thoroughly investigate this incident.”