A day of fishing turned into a fight for survival when two Florida men were pitched into the Atlantic by a wave one of the anglers described as 12 feet.
"It pitched my buddy Justyn 30 feet out of the boat — it literally just catapulted him," Cory Bowman, 38, told the Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. "This thing was just, I've never seen one that sharp, that tall. It was ridiculous.”
The wave capsized the 21-foot Parker owned by Justyn Bradley, 37, at about 4 p.m. Sunday while the two were fishing for mahi-mahi about 12 miles off Fort Pierce.
Bowman swam under the overturned boat to retrieve life jackets and a cooler, and the men spent the next 17 hours clinging to the hull. They said waves knocked them off at least a dozen times during the night.
"I told Justyn, I said, 'We're in trouble, dude, we're in serious trouble, dude,' " Bowman told the newspaper.
Click play to watch Coast Guard video of the rescue.
Meanwhile, their wives had called Coast Guard Sector Miami on Sunday evening to report that the men had not returned from their fishing trip, according to TV station WPBF in West Palm Beach.
The Coast Guard issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast and diverted the cutter Bluefin, a small-boat crew from Station Fort Pierce and an Air Station Clearwater C-130 aircraft to search.
About 8:30 a.m. Monday, the C-130 located the men. Good Samaritans aboard a sportfishing boat pulled Bradley and Bowman out of the water.
“The detailed float plan these men filed with their family gave us an accurate starting point to begin our search effort and ultimately helped save their lives,” Capt. Austin Gould, commander of Sector Miami, said in a statement.