Two anglers whose boat sank in the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend clung to an improvised buoy and battled sharks while a third, Phong Le, swam several miles to seek help. Le managed to find a cell phone signal and sent a Google map of his location just before the battery ran out, he told ABC News on Tuesday.
The three men have been in the water since about 10 a.m. Saturday – the sharks appeared Sunday morning, Nguyen said. A bit in front of his life jacket.
“And I think that’s where I came across… the wounds on my hands,” he told ABC, which identified the third athlete as Son Nguyen.
“I stuck two of my thumbs in his eyes, and he walked away,” said Luan Nguyen.
Andrew Stone, a sailor on the Coast Guard fleet that rescued them, said that even as the two men were pulled out of the water, they were attacked by four blackhead sharks about four to six feet long (1, 2 to 1.8 meters), surrounding and harassing. exhausted couple.
“They were exhausted and even panicked,” he told the Associated Press in an interview with other Coast Guard members and officials.
The Coast Guard said all three crew members returned home on Tuesday.
Lieutenant Katy Caraway, a helicopter pilot who rescued Le, who was suffering from hypothermia, said: “The will of these people and their life jackets is what saved them.”
She said that while a helicopter was towing Phong Le, the man swam for help, a plane located the two men who had to fight sharks about 0.8 to 5 miles away. 1.6 km. A Venice-based Coast Guard boat rammed to that point.
Helicopter rescue swimmer Richard Hoefle said both rowers had deep cuts on their hands, and one was missing the tip of his middle finger.
In the hospital, he said, a man told him, “I’m 100% sure my time is up” before he saw the plane spot them.
When the group’s 7.3-meter boat sank, it left them without a radio in an area without cell phone service.
Le told ABC: “We called the Coast Guard via VHF and informed them that we were on the water. “And not even a second later, the boat was almost submerged in water.”
They tied the two ice chests together like a makeshift buoy. One happened to hold water and fruit, Luan Nguyen said online.
One man’s wife reported them missing around 10 p.m. Saturday, Lieutenant Cmdr said. Kevin Keefe, Sector New Orleans Rescue Coordinator. The woman didn’t know their launch point, he said, and it took about 3.5 hours to find their vehicle in Venice, near the southeastern tip of Louisiana, so the crews would know the areas well. best to look for when dawn breaks.
Le said he swam for help on Sunday. After swimming for miles, he received a signal on his cell phone and texted his Google map location to a friend.
“I saw him trying to answer me. And the phone went off – I ran out of battery,” Le said online.
Lieutenant Cmdr said a boater’s wife texted the Coast Guard. Kevin Keefe, Sector New Orleans Rescue Coordinator.
Coast Guard boats, planes and helicopters spent fruitless hours searching an area larger than Rhode Island.
Then the screenshot came.
By using coastal contours, the command center can figure out where it is, says Keefe.
The Coast Guard said the men were found about 25 miles from Empire, a small community located along the last narrow strip of the Mississippi River Delta, southeast of New Orleans.
There were a lot of people hugging in the helicopter when Le was brought inside, Hoefle said. The man “didn’t know if his friends were alive or dead.”
Once the two are rescued by boat on the helicopter, the three rowers can enjoy their fun. “We were celebrating – coughs and screams,” Stone said.
“I would say this is a lifesaver for books for all of us,” says Caraway.