HAULOVER BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A Miami Beach Police officer found himself leading a multi-agency effort to rescue three brothers whose boat had capsized off the Haulover Inlet, and it was all captured on his body camera.
Miami Beach Police Officer Tom Fleischhauer, with the department’s Marine Patrol, came to the boaters’ aid, Sunday morning.
“We get a call at 8:35 in the morning, a 911 call,” said Miami Beach Police Officer Ernesto Rodriguez. “The owner of the vessel says he thinks he knows where he’s at, about two miles from the Haulover Inlet.”
Fleischhauer, who was alone in his police boat, was determined to save the boaters’ lives, even though their location was well out of his jurisdiction.
The bodycam footage captures Fleischhauer asking Michael whether he can swim. Moments later, the officer’s arm is seen pulling the boater into the police vessel.
“It’s believed these boaters were actually in the water, clinging to that boat for close to an hour before Tom was able to get to them and rescue them,” said Rodriguez.
Officials said the boaters had encountered choppy waters, and they were not wearing life jackets.
“Just imagine: rough seas out there, which is what caused the boat to capsize,” said Rodriguez, “and being out there without a life jacket and not knowing when someone is coming to help.”
The bodycam video shows another brother nearly slipping back in the water while being pulled onto Fleischhauer’s boat.
“You’re OK, you’re OK, you’re OK,” said the officer, who does not loosen his grip on the boater’s hand.
Speaking with 7News later on Sunday, one of the brothers, Michael Morales, said the U.S. Coast Guard also came to their aid.
“We look up, and we see the big Coast Guard aircraft circling us,” he said, “so right then and there we knew we were going to be all right.”
“Just trying to stay as level-headed and as cool as possible,” said another brother, Yasser Morales. “I didn’t want to freak out. I had my two younger brothers with me, and we kept talking to each other and just keeping ourselves calm.”
7News reached out to Fleischhauer to be interviewed about the rescue. He said, “Look, I was just doing my job.”
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