WATSON ISLAND, Fla. (WSVN) — A night of leisure and fishing turned into a stressful situation for four fishermen off the coast of Miami when their 27-foot boat sank. Miraculously, all four were rescued after facing the perils of the open sea.
At around 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, the incident took a dramatic turn when two large waves flipped the boaters’ vessel, submerging them underwater.
“They were just off the coast there fishing when it went down,” said a dispatcher over Broadcastify police scanner.
One of the stranded fishermen, Ray Duran, shared his experience.
“Two big olas, and they destroyed the boat, five seconds,” he said. “We were almost out to sea, everybody jumped from the boat, everybody grabbed their life jacket. I called 911
First responders raced to rescue the men.
“We were conducting searches with out air rescue units,” said Nicholas DiGiacomo, a firefighter with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.
Duran said he took off to swim and looked for help.
“Almost two hours swimming,” he said. “I found the one gentleman, police, Miami-Dade. He helped me a lot. He called the helicopters right away.”
Another survivor, Alexis Jorge, who had spent about 40 minutes in the water, was located shortly after the initial contact with the police officer.
“The fire department found me, Miami Fire Department.” he said.
However, two of the men remained missing for several hours.
“Heard people yelling in the water. Thankfully, they were wearing life vests at the time,” said DiGiacomo.
“The water was cold,” said one of the boaters in Spanish.
DiGiacomo provided insights into the search-and-rescue efforts.
“We were searching just outside of Bear Cut,” he said. “One gentleman was recovered initially. He was swimming close to the vessel. One gentleman managed to swim onto shore, and we had two missing. Two, approximately 30-year-old males, still missing.”
The efforts finally paid off just before 2 a.m. on Friday, when fast response teams heard people yelling in the water. The missing men, who had been wearing life vests, were safely picked up and transported to Watson Island Marina.
“It was a good response; we had multiple units, everyone working together and coordinating our search efforts and came back, brought everyone back alive,” DiGiacomo said.
The rescued men were grateful for the help they received from first responders.
“Thank you, guys. Have a good one,” Duran said.
City of Miami Fire Rescue crews located and brought three of the fishermen to shore. Officials said the fourth boater was able to swim to shore.
The intensive search involved air rescue units from multiple jurisdictions, including Miami-Dade Police, City of Miami Police, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
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