According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, four men were on a 23-foot vessel fishing when it began to tilt. Officials noticed the boat was in danger and immediately sprang into action. “I told him to hold on to the fender and not to let go,” said Bay Harbor Islands Police Department Officer Kathy Sullivan.
Sullivan threw the fender to one of the men that was struggling to stay above water when a line got tangled in her boat, which cut off the engine. “At that point, it was my boat, him and the rock on the jetty, and it was gonna turn into a bad situation and I finally just … I don’t know where I got the strength, but I pulled him up onto the boat and he was OK.”
According to the boaters, they were out fishing for a few hours. When they were on their way back to Haulover Marina, a rogue wave tipped the boat over. “It went up, then it went down, and water came in and the second one turned it over,” said Waldemar Bartet, who spoke through a Spanish translator.
FWC officer Jorge Pino said, “For them, it was being at the right place. It was the wrong time and maybe they did the wrong thing by capsizing. Having said that, it couldn’t have happened any better for us because we had enough people there.”
The boaters said they are grateful to be alive and thanked the officers who helped them. “Thank you to the woman and everyone else that helped us,” said Bartet.
One boater was wearing a life vest. They are expected to be OK.
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