Three men were rescued from the Atlantic Ocean by fellow boaters after their vessel took on water and capsized near Jacksonville, Florida, on Sunday, April 26, reports said.
Michael Key, a commander with the Neptune Beach Police Department who was off-duty at the time, said he and his family were boating nearby when they heard the mayday call and checked with the Coast Guard to confirm.
“The panicked sound of a captain yelling over the VHF radio ‘mayday, mayday, we’re taking on water fast’ will replay in my mind tonight,” wrote Key in his Facebook post.
“Today, as we were off the Mayport Jetties, we heard just that sound crack over the radio. Quickly followed by a weak signal from the U.S. Coast Guard with broken coordinates of the vessel in distress. After a quick phone call to U.S. Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville, I realized I was only about 1.5 miles away. As we arrived, the sight of 3 mariners floating in the water is something I will not soon forget. We were able to pull them aboard and bring them back in.”
Key told Storyful he found the seamen approximately three miles due east of Mayport Naval Station in the Atlantic Ocean and brought them safely back to shore in Jacksonville.
In his post, Key urged other boaters to invest in safety gear and regularly check it before setting sail. “This is yet another example of how things can go bad, so fast!” Key wrote.
Jacksonville.com quoted George Reagan, one of the men pulled from the ocean by Key, as saying the police commander was “no doubt a hero in my book for life!” Credit: Michael Key via Storyful