The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) in Louisiana arrested a boater who fired multiple shots at a rescue helicopter that was responding to a distress signal, officials said Saturday.
The crew with Coast Guard Eighth District initially responded early Thursday to a distress signal that belonged to a 40-foot vessel about 75 miles south of Southwest Pass, Louisiana, the USCG said.
The MH-60 aircrew reached the boat and tried to lower a radio down to the vessel, where they saw a person and two dogs, officials said.
The individual then pointed what appeared to be a firearm at the helicopter and the crew heard objects strike the aircraft. Due to safety concerns, the crew flew away from the scene.
Once the crew reached Air Station New Orleans, they saw impacts to the helicopter rotors consistent with projectiles from a firearm, officials said.
The USCG dispatched another aircraft, a cutter with Coast Guard investigators and FBI agents on board, and a 45-foot response boat to track the vessel’s movement.
The individual was taken into custody without incident on Friday morning.
“Safety of life was our number one priority during this challenging incident,” said Lt. Phillip VanderWeit, spokesperson for the Eighth Coast Guard District. “Through the professional and skillful work of our crews and interagency partners, we were able to bring this incident to a peaceful resolution.”
The incident remains under investigation.