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Atlanta man loses everything after boat capsizes in the Gulf of Mexico

A sailor lost everything after his boat — and home — capsized in the Gulf of Mexico.

Atlanta native Randy Weaver was hospitalized after his boat drifted, and eventually capsized, forcing him to jump into Gulf waters and swim to shore.

Weaver left from Fort Myers on his boat in September. It was on his return trip Friday that he ran into storms and suffered engine and mechanical failures.

The Weaver fired distress flares on Friday toward Fort Myers Beach and activated two distress signals before his boat ran aground on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the boat is stranded near the Barefoot Beach Preserve.

Weaver spent his life savings on the sailboat nearly six months ago after his wife died. He was ready for a change.

“I just decided that I wanted to take a trip and get away from everything that’s happening,” Weaver said. “So, I bought a boat, supplied it for 3 1/2 years.”

And he and cat Tiger set sail.

But nature had other plans.

Two storms and equipment failure

“I was really praying the whole way,” Weaver said. “I mean I was kind of scared for my life.”

His cat Tiger also survived the ordeal.

“It’s tough,” Weaver said.

Like his boat, Weaver’s life is no longer on a planned path after losing his home.

“I mean I’ve never been homeless,” Weaver said. “I’ve always worked hard but I guess God’s got something planned for me. I feel like Job and Jonah wrapped in a package.”

As he works through the loss, he remembers the kindness of people on the beach including when he rescued Tiger.

“I’ll tell you what, it’s probably one of the best feeling moments of the entire thing,” Weaver said. “All these people were cheering about the cat being rescued.”

Now, Weaver must find a way to move forward. He is working with a salvage company to get his boat to shore as soon as possible.

“I’ve lost everything and I don’t know what my next step really is going to be for myself,” Weaver said.

Reporter:Rachel Cox-Rosen
Writer:Melissa Montoya
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