The moment two men who cling to a water cooler are rescued after their boat sinks off the coast of Florida
The heartbreaking moment when two men clinging to a water cooler were rescued from the water 12 miles off the coast of Florida was captured by one of the fishermen who came to their rescue.
Jeovanni Villacis and Yunior Pupo were out for a day of fishing in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday when they noticed a leak in the back of their boat.
Within seconds, the 16-and-a-half-foot ship turned around, scrambling for the pair to find something to keep them afloat.
They kicked to stay above water for three to four hours and their legs were numb when a passing fishing boat saw their water cooler.
The video of their miraculous rescue was posted to Facebook by one of the fishermen, Adam Vetter, who wrote: “What started as a great day of fishing ended in ways I never imagined.”
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A dramatic video posted to Facebook Monday shows fishermen pulling Jeovanni Villacis and Yunior Pupo out of the water, 12 miles from Hudson Beach on the Florida coast
Vetter was also with friends Rob Wells, Captain Fred Heidgerken and Joe Steplyk for a day of fishing when they stumbled upon a capsize boat about 12 miles off the coast of Hudson Beach, Florida, at around 6:30 PM on Sunday night.
Although they couldn’t see anyone, the boat was still anchored, Vetter said WFLA that he “knew there were people”.
“You know I said to him, there is someone out there,” he said.
The group said they tried to contact the coastguard to see if the capsized boat had called but couldn’t get a good signal.
“We noticed that there was no grass around the hull and no water pipes, so it looked like it had happened recently. We marked the location and went back inside to call the Coast Guard, ”Vetter wrote.
The group began to return to shore when they soon saw something white bobbing in the water about half a mile from their boat.
In the rescue video, we see Vetter and friends running to the rubble as it becomes clearer.
The boat slows as it gets closer to the cooler and holds on to the waving hands of Villacis and Pupo.
“Thank you,” the two men cry, exhausted as they begin to drag themselves onto the lifeboat.
“Is it just you two? Is it just you? The fishermen ask as they help the stranded men on the back of the boat.
Jeovanni Villacis (left) and Yunior Pupo (right) enjoyed a day of fishing when they saw water leaking into their boat. In seconds, the boat capsized, clinging to a water cooler and kicking to float, stranded in the Gulf of Mexico
Fishermen returning to shore saw the white cooler in the water and ran to save them
“We’ve seen your boat,” they explain as Villacis and Pupo lie on the floor and drag their life jackets away.
“We turned it on to see if it was reported, but we couldn’t get to it.”
“My wife and daughter are out on the beach,” says Pupo, explaining that their families were on an island and not on the coast and were able to report them missing.
“Oh man, thank you, three hours.”
“Give them something to drink,” says one of the rescuers.
Villacis and Pupo saw water leaking into their boat and tried to use a bucket to scoop it out, but it was too late.
“I’m like, take that cooler, don’t let it go. It floats. We need stuff that floats now. So he grabbed the side of the cooler, “Villacis told WFLA.
Yunior Pupo is shown here thanking the lifeboat as he struggles to swim to the side and pull himself on board. The two men are heard saying ‘thank you’ as the boat approached
Jeovanni Villacis and Yunior Pupo are shown climbing on the fishing boat after holding on to a water cooler for four hours at sea after their boat was turned while fishing
Yunior Pupo lay exhausted on the floor of the boat telling the rescuers that they had left their family on a beach and they could not know that the boat had capsized
They clung to the Coleman cooler that held all of their catch and two life jackets float to the surface that they could put on.
Another boat had passed by sight before Veller and the crew came by, but they couldn’t get their attention, and the current was too strong to swim any closer.
“At the time, I was just trying to stay calm. Keep him calm and keep myself calm, “he added.
The pair remain grateful that their rescuers got over them before it was too late, and Villacis has said he now plans to sound an alarm in case it happens again and may even start Coast Guard lessons.
“We are very grateful that you were there,” he said, adding that he slept in the same bed that night with his wife and daughter.
“I told everyone, I’m just thankful to be home,” said Villacis. “Slept together, all cuddled together that night.”
Heidgerken told WFLA that the outcome could have been much worse if they hadn’t seen the cooler.
“I think we talked about it Monday … we talked about it on the boat and it finally hit us,” said Heidgerken.
‘It is awesome.’
“Thank goodness they had that white cooler, that’s why they saved us,” said Vetter.
“They probably had about an hour or so of daylight left and they dropped their family off on one of the islands while they went fishing, so who knows when it would have been reported that they were missing that night.”