One of the anglers, Raymond Jacik describes what happened when a giant wave hit their boat.
“It went right here, boom! And we went that way.” All of a sudden, their boat flipped and they were in the water. “It was cold as all get out,” said Michael Watkins, the other fisherman.
“Thank God the Igloo cooler popped up right in front of Mike, cause Mike can’t swim,” Jacik said. They floated to some old pipes sticking out and held on.
The first day they tried to flag down the big ships coming through by taking off their shirts and waving the shirts at the ships but evidently none on the ships saw them.
“We had two bottles of water or three in the cooler. There was a half of a half of a Valero sub,” Watkins said. When the next morning came, they decided it was time to do something different if they were going to survive.
“There was a drilling platform about a mile away from us,” Watkins said. They used the cooler as a float and kicked and paddled towards the platform. “I panicked. I got back up on the cooler,” Watkins said.
That night storms rolled in and the noise from the thunder was deafening. Worst of all, they became separated.
“When I lost site of the cooler, I thought he was gone,” Jacik said.
“I was bound and determined to come home to my wife, my little girl,” said Watkins.
Sure enough, the next morning, the Coast Guard came to the rescue. The Coast Guard helicopter was actually running out of gas when it made a last pass and spotted the fisherman and rescued them. Both anglers were checked out at hospitals. Jacik was treated for hypothermia and actually had a heart attack out on the water.
“I knew I was sitting there saying, ‘Thank God, thank God,” Jacik said when he saw the Coast Guard helicopter. “We can’t stress enough the thanks to the Coast Guard,” Jacik said. “They go above and beyond.”
Jacik and Watkins have not lost their love for fishing. “We’re fisherman, starting to get the itch, I want to go fishing,” Watkins said, “”But closer to land,” added Jacik.