Capsized Couple Treads Water for 14 Hours

WSVN-TV – 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco
It proved to be an unlucky slip for a man and woman who fell from their boat in the waters around Key Largo, Florida, last week. Neither of the South Florida residents was wearing a life jacket and neither had a cellphone or any other means to communicate with other boaters in nearby waters. So their survival instinct kicked in and the two of them managed to tread water in the open ocean for an incredible 14 hours prior to being rescued, reports CNN.

“We were all stunned, we all looked at each other and asked are we seeing what we think we’re seeing,” Keith Salvis, of the Broward Sheriff Office’s fire rescue department told a local NBC affiliate.

The water-treading couple was identified as Mellisa Morris,52, and Sean McGovern,50. Since their boat was located about 7 miles from the shoreline when the incident occurred, it was too far for the couple to simply swim to shore. And since the boat was in gear when they fell into the water, it quickly travelled in the opposite direction so they were not able to quickly climb back on board. A representative for the Coast Guard said that McGovern and Morris were extremely lucky to have been rescued, considering that they had no life jackets, no signaling device, and only a t-shirt to try and get anyone’s attention.

After 14 hours of flailing about in the water, several men aboard a nearby boat noticed their splashing. And finally the couple enjoyed some good luck because these boaters included a police officer and off-duty firefighter experienced in handling emergency rescues. According to the sheriff’s department, both the man and the woman were suffering from dehydration, exhaustion and several jellyfish stings after having drifted about 10 nautical miles from their original location.

The pair was among the many boaters who fail to put their life jackets on because they never anticipate that they will end up in the water. Their boat finally surfaced on the Ft. Lauderdale beach.

McGovern and Morris were taken ashore, treated for mild hypothermia and jellyfish stings, and picked up by friends, U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Mark Barney said.

“As empty as the ocean was today, with only another two or three boats, they might have been out there for another two or three days and who knows what fate might have held,” Salvis told the television station.

Couple treaded water 14 hours: Capsized Couple Treads Water for 14 Hours

Couple treaded water 14 hours: Capsized Couple Treads Water for 14 Hours

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Couple treaded water 14 hours

Couple rescued after treading water for 14 hours off Florida coast 37

Couple treaded water 14 hours