Three off-duty officers on a fishing trip rescued a Florida couple who had been treading water for 14 hours after falling from their boat in Key Largo, Fla.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office said two detectives and a firefighter/paramedic were fishing for dolphins Saturday morning approximately seven miles off the shore of Hallandale Beach when they saw what looked like fish jumping or birds feeding on the surface of the water.
As they approached closer, they realized it was actually a man treading water and waving his T-shirt in their direction. Next to him was his wife, also treading water.
The three officers and a civilian who was fishing with them helped the Florida couple out of the water and onto their boat.
Sean McGovern, 50, and Melissa Morris, 52, told them they had fallen off their boat in Key Largo about 14 hours prior on Friday. The boat was in gear and pulled away from them, leaving them stranded in the water for 14 grueling hours.
The couple appeared to have mild hypothermia and some jellyfish stings, BSO said.
“They are very lucky — they didn’t have any signal device,” said U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Mark Barney. “They were trying to signal people down with their T-shirt. To be located and recovered by off-duty cops and a firefighter — that’s a stroke of luck right there.”
“We saw birds diving,” said Adam White, a detective. “As we got closer, I saw fish jumping. We saw a white male with his shirt flagging us down.”
“We checked them out, made sure they were stable,” White said.
The four fishermen then passed the Florida couple over to the Coast Guard, which carried them to the Fort Lauderdale Coast Guard Station. Friends picked them up from there.
“A lot of people don’t wear life jackets because they don’t have intention of being in water,” Barney said. “It was a miracle they were able to tread water that long and were safely recovered.”
The Coast Guard stated that the couple’s boat washed up onto the beach in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday afternoon.