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Bucked off a 50-foot powerboat

JAN. 16 — After falling off his boat near Los Angeles, a 59-year-old man clung to a balloon, driftwood and finally to a buoy before being rescued Thursday by the Coast Guard.

Craig McCabe said he was thrown from his 50-foot powerboat, Heather, when it hit a swell, the Associated Press reported. He had left Marina del Ray, north of Los Angeles International Airport, at about 8 a.m. and was headed to Newport Beach, Calif.

At one point McCabe held onto a balloon to stay afloat, the report says. When the balloon began to deflate McCabe supported himself on pieces of driftwood. He later swam to a nearby buoy where he was eventually pulled from the 58-degree water.

“If he was in the water for any longer than that, he probably would have died,” Orange County Harbor Patrol deputy Jim Slikker says in the report.

McCabe’s boat was discovered hours before the rescue. The boat was aground with its engine still running, about 26 miles from where McCabe was found, according to the report. The discovery prompted a search that included a Coast Guard airplane, a 41-foot boat and four Los Angeles County lifeguard boats.

— Jason Fell