The US Coast Guard responded to a rare call in waters off Fort Myers beach on Sunday: a boat with a full tank of gas, running at full throttle, with no one behind the wheel.
Coast Guard crews received a call around 4 p.m. that two boaters had been thrown off the boat, leaving it unmanned and speeding uncontrollably around the Gulf of Mexico just off Big Carlos Pass.
"We do train here to operate at high speeds," said Petty Officer Jesse Ameigh, but adding he hadn't trained for anything like this.
When crews first arrived, they unsuccessfully attempted to slow down the boat by throwing a net around its propeller. They then maneuvered close enough to the out-of-control vessel for an officer to jump on board and manually shut it down.
"The helm was stuck to the right, so it was just doing right-hand circles, but it could change course at any moment," Ameigh said.
Coast Guard officials warn boaters that things can go wrong very quickly, even on a beautiful day out on the water.