The U.S. Coast Guard has rescued four people whose 18-foot boat capsized in a Michigan bay, forcing them to stay alive through the night.
Soon after launching from Au Gres, the waves grew and capsized the boat, leaving them stranded three miles from the shore.
They spent over fourteen hours holding on to dear life.
This wasn't their first time boating
Ryan Miller and Brian Nelson from Macomb Township took a fishing trip to Saginaw Bay on Tuesday. They took with them Miller's 12-year-old son Dakota and his 10-year-old friend Jack.
"When we went out, it was like a sheet of glass," says Miller. "In a course of a half-hour, it went from calm to big rolling waves," says Miller.
That's when the trip turned into a nightmare that would never end for the boaters.
"It was called 'The Three Sisters,'" says Nelson. "It's three waves simultaneously back-to-back-to-back."
Fatigued and looking for help
Their boat capsized at about 5:30 p.m. That's when Miller left the boat to look for help.
"I was just so fatigued. I was getting awful cramps in my leg because I had to continue to paddle, or the waves could come right over my head," says Miller.
Miller says he was in the water for fourteen and a half hours.
"I went in at six o'clock and they found me at eight-thirty the next morning," says Miller.
The Coast Guard and a helicopter searched for hours Monday night and Tuesday morning. That search, ultimately, came to an end.
"My nervous moment was probably around eleven o'clock when I didn't see the chopper anymore," says Nelson.
Shortly before 7:30 a.m., rescue crews spotted the boaters. To say that the four boaters are lucky to be alive, is an understatement.
"We learned a lot and it's not going to stop me from living my life," says Miller.
What the Coast Guard says they did right
- All four had on life jackets
- They had a "float plan" with someone on-shore
- They stayed with the boat
The boaters walked away with a few cuts from wearing the life-vests for a long time, some bumps and bruises from being hit by the boat and fatigue from being left in the water for many hours.
They have scheduled another boat trip for later this month.