Fishermen saved after boat capsizes at sea
OPA-LOCKA, Fla. (WSVN) -- The U.S. Coast Guard saved two Bahamian fishermen who were stranded at sea for eight days.
U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Jerod Glover said, just as he and his crew were getting ready to head out for a routine training mission last Saturday afternoon, they received a call about two fishermen stranded in the middle of the Gulf Stream. "In the pictures, the vessel was upside down with the two men on them, you know, giving us the thumbs up at one point," said Glover.
A large cargo ship spotted the two men clinging for their lives. "The typical scenario that we all see from the famous TV show 'Lost,' someone out there floating around, that nobody knows about," said Glover.
The helpless men were about 60 miles away from the Coast Guard air station in Opa-Locka, between Boca Raton and West Palm Beach.
Rescue swimmer Kyle Stallings was immediately lowered into the waters from the helicopter and hoisted both men up. "You can see instantly that they were really dehydrated. They were really exposed. Their skin was deteriorating," said Stallings.
The stranded men, hypothermic and hungry, were able to tell their rescuers that they were fishermen from the Bahamas. The men were barely holding on to their 50-foot fishing boat. "That boat was definitely on its last legs to stay afloat," said Stallings.
"They were out there for eight days. One of them had drank salt water. Who knows what would have happened during the next half hour or hour," said flight mechanic Jose Rivera.
The entire rescue operation took about 15 minutes. Once the men were rescued to safety, rescuers said the looks on their faces told their story. "As I looked over my shoulder, I made eye contact with the first gentleman that we picked up while we were setting up for the second hoist," said a rescuer, "and with that eye contact, he and I shared a moment, and he did the head nod of approval. You know, thank you."
The two middle-aged men found clinging to their boat are now survivors. They are being treated at Delray Medical Center.
"One of the gentlemen, once we got him up, started crying and instantly saying his prayers, and that really touched me," said Stallings.
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