Boaters Found After Distress Call Off Southern California Coast

The missing boaters called 911 Sunday night to report engine problems

Three people aboard a pleasure craft were found after an overnight search by U.S. Coast Guard personnel who received a distress call from the disabled 17-foot boat off the Southern California coast.

The boat was stranded during its trip from Santa Catalina Island to Rancho Palos Verdes. The Coast Guard received a 911 call from the boaters at about 8 p.m. Sunday, indicating problems with the boat's engine, said Lt. Michael Turanitza.

Their phone battery died during the call.

"We searched throughout the night," said Capt. Jennifer Williams. "The distress call was not a normal distress call -- it was by 911. We believe it's a legitimate distress call and there are people out there who need our help."

Marine VHF radio channels are usually used for distress calls.

The boat was not equipped with flares, a radio or a global positioning system, making the search more complicated, Turanitza said. Boats from the Coast Guard and Baywatch, along with helicopters from Los Angeles and San Diego assisted in the search. The boat was located about 11 miles from Santa Catalina Island Monday morning.

The boat was being toward to Cabrillo Beach, Turanitza told the Associated Press.

NBC4's Jonathan Lloyd contributed to this report.

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