JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WSVN) — Cameras rolled as the crew of a fishing boat reeled in three men left stranded at sea, off Florida’s Atlantic coast, Saturday afternoon.
Cell phone video captured crew members clapping as the men were pulled to safety, 15 miles off the coast of Jacksonville. That’s where, Capt. Scott Reynolds said his fishing boat turned into a rescue boat.
“All I had to do was make one other decision for the day,” he said. “I could have turned another direction, and it would have been game over.”
The rescuers said it was pure luck they saw three men in life vests treading water. Their 20-foot fishing boat had taken on water and capsized.
“It was upside down by the time I got to it, and they had left it trying to swim to us,” said Reynolds. “They saw us on the previous spot.”
Officials said the three men were treading water for more than three hours. Rescuers said the men were in shock. They’d been in choppy water and lost most of their possessions.
“[They were in] a little bit of shock, obviously,” said Reynolds. “They’d been in the water long enough and been worried enough, I’m sure.”
Fire rescue crews came and checked the men out. They were OK, and on the return trip, they were even well enough to smile for a photo.
Rescuers said the men were lucky because conditions on the water were expected to get choppier in just a matter of hours.
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