Seven people taking part in fishing competition are airlifted to safety after their 39-foot boat was struck by lightning and lost power leaving them stranded 100miles off the coast of Florida
- The group was participating in a fishing tournament when their boat was struck by lightning leaving them dead in the water
- The boat’s owner said that he immediately set off an electronic position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB)
- It took the Coast Guard around two hours to reach them
- None of the group suffered any injuries, one member of the party is more than six months pregnant
- One member of the party stressed the importance of having an EPIRB when going boating saying the group would still be stranded if it wasn’t for the beacon
Seven people were rescued on Saturday by the Coast Guard after their boat was left without power following a lightning strike that left them stranded 100 miles off of Clearwater, Florida.
Boat owner Glenn Rumer was with local fishing charter captain Joshua Guy, his partner Megan Chaple, who is six months pregnant, and local businesswoman Tonya Albritton, as well as three others when the strike happened.
The group was taking part in a fishing tournament in the Gulf of Mexico.
A video shot on board the boat shows Rumer and a passenger smiling at the camera moments before the lightning struck.
As the bolt hits the vessel, screams are heard while sparks can be seen flying behind Rumer and the other boater. One person can be heard saying: ‘Oh my God!’
A Coast Guard video goes on to show elements of the rescue showing one person being airlifted in a basket on to a Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 helicopter.
The video then shows that person and others being hoisted on board the rescue helicopter.
The owner of the boat, Glenn Rumer, told DailyMail.com that the group were participating in the Old Salt Foundation fishing tournament when they were struck.
Rumer said: ‘It was a wonderful day and we were catching the winning fish.’
He said that they left at 2:00 am for the three hour boat ride to where the tournament was taking place.
Rumer said: ‘We normally fish for 4 hours and then run in for weigh in. I have been doing this for the last three years and have had winners on the boat in the past.’
Following the strike, Rumer said that they lost all electrical and motors.
The owner of the boat, Glenn Rumer, told DailyMail.com that the group were participating in the Old Salt Foundation fishing tournament when they were struck
The Coast Guard video shows the group in good spirits on the water just prior to the lightning strike
One member of the party said that one of the Coast Guard rescue team said that he had never heard of lightning striking a moving boat before
The Coast Guard received a emergency position-indicating radio beacon notification (EPIRB,) from there authorities were able to contact Rumer’s wife who informed them that her husband was participating in a fishing tournament.
The group immediately set off the radio beacon after they realized that they were stranded, Rumer said. From there, it took the Coast Guard around two hours to reach them.
Rumer told us: ‘We were all scared. But I kept my cool until we saw the us coast guard. I tried my best to keep everyone calm. Even in 30-35 mile per hour winds and over 50 lighting strikes around us which lasted at least 30 minutes.’
He added: ‘The USCG showed me where we were located during the storm and we were dead center of the heart of the storm.’
Tonya Albritton, the owner of Sea Spook Baits a specialty bait store in Deerfield Beach, Florida, identified herself as being the person in the basket in a Facebook post.
Elements of the rescue were shown in the Coast Guard video as they hoisted the crewmembers on board their rescue helicopter
Tonya Albritton, the owner of Sea Spook Baits a specialty bait store in Deerfield Beach, Florida, identified herself as being the person in the basket in a Facebook post
Members of the group appear to be smiling as others are brought on board the rescue helicopter
None of the party suffered serious injuries, the Coast Guard said in their press release. They were greeted by family members when they reached the shore
Rumer told DailyMail.com that right now he’s feeling ‘tired and blessed.’
He added: ‘God is real and keeps and eye on all of us and glad all my friends and family are okay.’
Another member of the party, Joshua Guy, expressed a similar sentiment when contacted by DailyMail.com.
Guy said: ‘When you almost die, you’re gonna relish the points and the timeframe of the moment of now.’ He reflected on the possibility that he may never had seen his son again and highlighted the importance of spending time with loved ones.
Guy, who is a charter captain but was just helping out on the vessel, also said: ‘The one thing I want to get out there to everybody on the planet that goes out boating, is how important EPIRB is. Nothing else saved us other than EPIRB.’
He continued: ‘As I’m talking to you now, we’d still be on the water waiting for someone to save us.’
The boat’s owner said: ‘We were all scared. But I kept my cool until we saw the us coast guard. I tried my best to keep everyone calm. Even in 30-35 mile per hour winds and over 50 lighting strikes around us which lasted at least 30 minutes’
The boat’s owner, Glenn Rumer, shown here with Meghan Chaple, who was also on board when the lightning struck
On Facebook, Tonya Albritton, shown here, wrote: ‘Thanking God and the coast guard and our Capt. for being prepared. I’m alive today
Joshua Guy expressed to DailyMail.com the importance of having an EPIRB on board when boating
On Facebook, Tonya Albritton wrote: ‘Thanking God and the coast guard and our Capt. for being prepared. I’m alive today.’
She wrote in the comments that Coast Guard sergeant told her in his 40 years doing rescues, he had never seen lightning strike a moving boat at sea.
None of the party suffered serious injuries, the Coast Guard said in their press release. They were greeted by family members when they reached the shore.
The boat, a 39-foot Stamus yacht, was towed back into shore on Sunday.
Coast Guard Lt. David McKinley said in the statement: ‘Lightning storms are routinely encountered in the Florida maritime environment and can pose a significant hazard to boaters.’
He added: ‘Fortunately, the boaters in this case were well prepared with all necessary safety equipment including an EPIRB, flares, and a marine VHF radio to ensure a quick and efficient rescue.’