A 25-year-old man was rescued from his partially submerged fishing boat over the weekend after being stranded at sea off the Florida coast, authorities said.
U.S. Coast Guard officers found the man, identified as Charles Gregory, about 12 miles off the coast of St. Augustine, Florida, on Saturday following an extensive search that involved multiple law enforcement agencies and lasted through the night Friday.
The Coast Guard airplane crew that initially spotted Gregory drifting in his small jon boat recorded a video of the rescue, and the agency later shared it online. It shows Gregory sitting in the small vessel with his feet near the bow, which was dipping into the ocean and filled with water. A jon boat is a lightweight, flat-bottomed fishing boat typically made of fiberglass, wood or aluminum.
A Coast Guard cutter crew pulled Gregory from the boat, and he was transferred to another crew involved in the search and rescue effort before being taken back to shore, the Coast Guard said in a news release issued on Saturday. No medical concerns were reported, according to the agency.
The agency confirmed the rescue in a tweet, marking the last in a series of updates posted about their search for Gregory.
Gregory's family had reported him missing on Friday evening, the Coast Guard said, when he did not return to the Lighthouse Park Boat Ramp as expected.
"@USCG crews and partner agencies are searching for 25-year-old Charles Gregory, who was last seen departing the Lighthouse Park Boat Ramp on a 12-foot jon boat, Thursday night," the Coast Guard said in an initial tweet on Friday night.
The man's father, Raymond Gregory, said in comments to CNN after the rescue that his son had departed from the boat ramp during the early hours of Friday morning for a fishing trip, as he had done a number of times in the past, and was tossed from the boat by rough tides that rose faster than he anticipated.
Although Gregory was able to hoist himself back into the fishing boat, he was swept out to sea, his father said. Raymond Gregory told CNN that his son "struggled to stay alive" as he spotted sharks and endured jellyfish stings while exposed to the hot Florida sun.
"He was scared to death," he said, according to the outlet. "He said he's had more conversations with God in that 30 hours than he's had his whole life."
Gregory's father said his son was home resting when he spoke to CNN.
"He's exhausted, he's dehydrated and is suffering from rhabdomyolysis," Raymond Gregory said. Rhabdomyolysis is characterized by "the breakdown of damaged muscle cells" resulting in the release of contents from those muscle cells into the blood, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which notes that the condition can cause serious health problems and says risk factors include heat exposure, physical exertion and direct trauma.
for more features.