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13 rescued from sinking yacht off Lauderdale-by-the-Sea

106-foot yacht sinks shortly after passengers, crew rescued

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Thirteen people were rescued Monday evening after a 106-foot yacht began taking on water off the coast of South Florida.

The U.S. Coast Guard said the yacht started to sink about 13 miles off Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios said the yacht sank about 25 minutes after the last person was rescued.

The Serena III was on its way to Freeport in the Bahamas when it started to sink just 15 minutes after it left.

"We are sinking," the captain said in a mayday call to the Coast Guard.

Sea Tow assisted the Coast Guard with the rescue.

"The vessel was listing heavily," Sea Tow Capt. Tim Morgan told Local 10 News.

Rios said the conditions were choppy with high winds.

"It's not the most favorable weather," he said.

The captain, six crew members and six passengers were rescued and taken to the Coast Guard station in Miami Beach.

"It was so quick," yacht captain Gabriel Narens said.

Perry Thomas, Narens' first officer, said he wasn't sure the 3-year-old yacht was going to sink.

"I wasn't nervous," Thomas said. "We just made sure we got everybody in their lift rafts."

All that could be salvaged from the yacht was a personal watercraft, a raft and a tender.

"It's just another boat that's going to be out there," Morgan said. "It's too deep of water to recover it where it's at."

The Coast Guard is investigating what caused the yacht to sink.

"There may have been a possible grounding on the way out of Port Everglades and wasn't noticed until they were further offshore," Lt. Tasha Sadowicz said.