Two Men Rescued After Drifting Atop Capsized Boat for Eight Days

A Coast Guard helicopter took off for a routine training mission Saturday, unaware of any real drama in the ocean below.

If not for a passing freighter spotting the tiny boat and its nearly lifeless passengers, the Gulf Stream would have carried the men further away to an almost certain death.

For the rescuer and the rescued, it wasn’t supposed to happen like this. Two Bahamian men left for some fishing and ended up floating on the hull of their capsized 20-foot boat — for eight days.

“They were really exposed and really deteriorating quickly,” said Coast Guard rescue swimmer Kyle Stallings of the 56- and 57-year-old men. Their names were not released late Sunday.

Stallings said the men were lying in six inches of water on top of the boat and were completely waterlogged. He said their skin was deteriorating, their eyes were droopy and that, when he pinched their skin, it stayed in place for about four seconds, which is a sign of dehydration.

“They were both in tears. You could tell they were on their last straw of hope,” he said.

Coast Guard officers said a large cargo ship stumbled upon the men drifting on their boat in the middle of the Gulf Stream.

“Timing was huge in this – if the freighter hadn’t seen them they would have been riding that Gulf Stream up to the north,” said Pilot Jerod Glover.

The rescue happened around 5 p.m. Saturday 30 miles off shore between Boca Raton and West Palm Beach.

“They had nothing to hold onto; they were just laying flat and hoping they didn’t slide off,” Glover said.

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