Family found safe on Halters Island

A family of four reported missing after they launched their boat Saturday in Berwick was found Sunday night safe aboard a houseboat, the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office reported.

Sheriff’s deputies were alerted Sunday when Peter and Jennifer Orlando and their two children didn’t return from a planned boat trip to the Halter’s Island, Sheriff’s Spokesperson Traci Landry said.

Lt. Ross Mire of the sheriff’s Marine Division and Maj. Gary Driskell at 9:55 p.m. Sunday spotted the Orlandos’ boat near a houseboat across a bay from Halters Island, which was the Orlando family’s destination.

“On Saturday, Peter Orlando’s boat motor failed and caught fire,” Landry said. “Using a fire extinguisher, Orlando put out the flames and used his trolling motor to reach land.”

The family moored the boat near an empty houseboat and stayed there until help arrived.

“Orlando is commended for using available resources to get his family to safety until a rescue crew arrived,” Landry said.