SARASOTA, Fla. – A group of passengers on a fishing trip Sunday were held captive for 18 hours by an inebriated captain who threatened to shoot them and dump them overboard, Florida police said.
Captain Mark Bailey, 36, along with his first mate and five passengers departed from Sarasota about 6 a.m. on the Double Maker charter boat for a 12-hour fishing trip, according to authorities. The passengers told police that Bailey had been drinking numerous beers and was heavily intoxiacted while driving the boat.
The trouble began when they were about 60 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico.
One of the passengers, Carlo Lopeparo, reportedly asked his nephew, 15-year-old Jason Rialmo, to go to the second deck and retrieve a beer from a plastic bucket next to Bailey. The captain allegedly told the teen to put the beer back, but the teen thought he was kidding and kept going. That's when Bailey grabbed Rialmo and yanked a chain off his neck, according to a police report obtained by WFLA.
An argument ensued between Lopeparo and Bailey that lasted several hours as the captain continued to drink and do cocaine, the report said.
Captain Bailey then reportedly called 25-year-old passenger Chris Guiffre to the second deck and told him, "I have a gun and if I want to, I will put a bullet in each of your heads and leave you out here."
About 9:30 p.m., two hours after the trip was scheduled to end, Bailey took out a 9mm handgun and fired 6-7 shots in the air, passengers told police.
Bailey's first mate, Devin Kissell, was asleep for part of the trip, but upon waking up attempted to keep the captain calm, according to the report.
The passengers reportedly spent the next three hours begging Captain Bailey to bring them back to the dock. The captain appeared to turn the boat around to head back to shore, but the passengers soon discovered by using compasses on their phones that he was driving them in circles, the report said.
Once the group was in cellphone range, they contacted Sarasota police. Officers from the department and the U.S. Coast Guard were waiting to arrest Bailey when he finally returned to the dock.
Bailey is charged with boating under the influence and resisting a law enforcement officer. Other crimes are under investigation, officials said. The captain was released after posting $620 bond.
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports that Bailey, who is from England, may lose his captain's license if convicted.