Man clings to cooler after boat capsizes
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A South Florida man is recovering after the boat he was fishing in flipped over.
Key Biscayne Fire Rescue and Miami Fire Rescue responded to the near-drowning Monday morning in the area of 600 Grapetree Drive. Police said the man and his brother were out fishing Sunday night when a large wave capsized their 12-foot boat.
The man's brother managed to safely swim to shore. "One of the brothers came up to shore, and that's where he gave us more information as to where we could find the other brother," said Key Biscayne Fire Rescue Chief Marcos Osorio.
The man, however, spent seven hours clinging to the top of a cooler before rescuers reached him. "This gentleman, we came on scene, and this was the only thing that he was holding on to," said U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Joseph Abeyta. "He probably weighs about 220 pounds, and unfortunately he was unable to get to his life jacket when the vessel capsized."
The man was identified by his girlfriend as "George." She described the ordeal that almost took his life. "He said he was out on the boat, and the wake was too big, and it basically capsized the boat, and he said it happened too fast. He wasn't able to do anything," said Vanessa Florido.
Florido said her boyfriend is expected to be OK. "He's fine, he's just really cold right now, and his skin from being in the water too long," she said.
Rescue crews transported both brothers to Mercy Hospital where they are recovering.
The Coast Guard advises that whenever you get on to a boat, make sure you have your life vest on.
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