PUNTA RASSA, Fla. - A strong Sunday morning thunderstorm took some boaters by surprise, and the U.S. Coast Guard had to launch a rescue effort. At one point, authorities were searching for as many as seven people in the area of Punta Rassa.
"Everything was clear and all of a sudden, the fog and rain came," said Diana Bernal.
Two families make their way to dry land after being rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard. Their boat broke down in the storm that passed over Punta Rassa Sunday morning.
"We were all scared and it felt like the boat, felt like we were going to flip over, it was just really really scary," said Bernal.
One woman was taken to the hospital. "Just a panic attack, she's ok," said Bernal.
The Lee County Sheriff's Office Marine Unit joined the U.S. Coast Guard, who had already been responding to numerous distress calls from Punta Rassa all the way down to Gordon Pass.
Alan Rodriguez says the storm got so intense, he had to cut his anchor line, and that was only the beginning.
"I started heading back, I think I hit about six to eight feet," said Rodriguez. He says he feels lucky to have made it back on his own. "Pretty nasty, I was jumping around, I still had waves coming over the bow of the boat...it was an experience."
Mary Delouch stood by as Lee County Deputies and the Coast Guard prepare a full scale search for husband who went fishing Sunday morning. Before too long, marine units found him broken down a few miles away from Punta Rassa. Mary eased some tension with a bit of humor as a marine deputy towed her husband, Percy, to the dock.
"You could have brought me back a better looking one," said Delouche.
"I had no steering, so all I could do is sit back and go for a ride," said Percy.
All boaters reported missing or in danger were accounted for by late Sunday afternoon.