PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio - The Miller Ferry has been a staple on Lake Erie since the 1970s, serving as a transportation source to Put-In-Bay and Middle Bass Island.
On Sunday, the ferry made a surprising stop off-course after a boat in the wake of the ferry began to submerge, taking in water.
The ferry was making a routine trip back from Catawba Island when a mayday call was made for a 25-foot boat that was taking on water. Bryan Woischke, the ferry's captain, was monitoring radio calls when he heard the initial mayday call into the Coast Guard.
"I was listening to the call, just about how many people were on board, what kind of safety equipment they had and I knew we were close enough to find the vessel," Woischke said. "I went about a quarter mile off our course and was able to locate the vessel. I was able to issue the Coast Guard a proper set of GPS coordinates and stayed on scene with the vessel until the Coast Guard arrived."
Crew members aboard the ferry stopped the boat to monitor the situation until the Coast Guard arrived to assist the boat, which was carrying seven passengers.
The entire incident was captured on video and shared in two Facebook posts that have more than 500,000 views combined.
The passengers of the boat were not aware of what caused the boat to begin taking on water.
"Not sure what ultimately caused the boat to take on water other than the fact that the waves were insane yesterday," said Laura Cooper, who was on the boat. "I was sitting on the boat in the back and was soaked from the waves as it was."
In the above video, Cooper can be seen in a dark green shirt and white shorts hanging onto the boat as it bobbed in the water.
Cooper said the Miller Ferry lowered its ramp and ladder into the water for the passengers, but by the time the ladder was in the water their boat had already gone under.
According to Woischke, crew members of the Miller Ferry undergo weekly safety training for a variety of incidents, including man overboard and other rescue situations.
"I can't swim," Cooper said. "By the time we by the time we climbed out on the deck of the boat, it was down in a minute and we were in the water."
As the crew of the Ferry monitored the passengers, the Coast Guard and Rescue Marine arrived and brought the passengers to safety.
From water entering the boat to the time it submerged, the incident occurred in less than one minute.
"It felt grim being in that water, even though I'm sure on the videos it looked like a quick rescue," Cooper said. "I did not want to let go of that boat."