MARCO ISLAND, Fla.- Four men, whose boat capsized Sunday morning off the coast of Marco Island, are finally going home.
Yadir Padron, Alexis Delgado, Fabian Rodriguez, and his son Fabian Jr. spent 23 hours in the water before they were spotted by Coast Guard rescuers Monday morning.
This incident happened near Caxambas Pass. The four men left for a fishing trip Sunday morning. According to Coast Guard Officials, they turned around about 9 miles offshore to get out of the rough waves. The owner of the boat Yadir Padron said they made a sharp turn back to the coastline when one of the boat's two outboard engines died. The 22' boat started to take on water when a large wave came over the side. When the men jumped out of the boat, it overturned.
Three of the men were able to put on life jackets. One put on a dive suit that was stored on the boat. They tied themselves onto the hull of the boat battling the waves and hypothermia.
When the men didn't return Sunday night, two of their daughters called the Florida Coast Guard. The first search team went out around 4:00 Monday morning. A few hours later, the boat was spotted by a Coast Guard Plane. The men were reunited with their families at their original destination, Caxambas Pass, around 9:40 A.M.
When WINK News caught up with Yadir Padron, he was overcome with emotion.He said he thought about his young son while he fought to stay alive in the frigid gulf water.
"I wanted to see him. I wanted to see him grow. I don't want him to go to my funeral or anything like that, and you know, it's hard not to take those things out of your head when you're out there," said Padron.
Alexis Delgado said three boats passed the group. One vessel was just a quarter of a mile away, but because it was daylight, their flares couldn't be seen.
"When you get cold you start trembling, and once you get too cold, you can't hang on," said Delgado.
Jason Cody of the Coast Guard's Fort Myers Beach base said the fact that the men stayed with the boat was critical in their safe return. He advises boaters to let a family member know where you're going to be and when you expect to be back. Cody says it's also a good idea to tell at least one family member what kind of safety equipment you have on board.