[QODLink]
Americas

US lobsterman rescued after 12 hours in water

Using rubber boots as floaters, John Aldridge said he never gave up hope before being picked up from Atlantic Ocean.

Last Modified: 25 Jul 2013 21:04
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Aldridge, 45, was not wearing a life jacket when he fell overboard early on Wednesday [AP]

A Long Island lobsterman who spent 12 hours floating in the Atlantic Ocean while clinging to his rubber boots is back in the embrace of his family.

John Aldridge was embraced by relatives when he arrived on Thursday afternoon at his parents' home in Oakdale, New York. Aldridge said he never gave up hope.

The Montauk resident was not wearing a life jacket when he fell overboard around early on Wednesday.

"These boots saved my life," Aldridge told Newsday. "I put one under each arm and I said, 'I'm going to live. I can do this'."

The ordeal began while he was on watch duty aboard the Anna Mary, a 44-foot lobster boat out of Montauk.

He was trying to move a cooler when the handle snapped off, sending him “straight out the back of the boat” around 3:30am local time on Wednesday, he said.

Rescue effort

Aldridge, 45, said he spotted boats for several hours but they did not see him. He said he also saw “the whole gamut of sea life coming at me,” and feared a shark attack.

The crew notified the Coast Guard that he was missing around 6:30am on Wednesday.

Coast Guard crews from across New England and commercial fishing crews coordinated a search that covered 1,250 square kilometres.

A Coast Guard helicopter out of Cape Cod finally spotted Aldridge and hoisted him up to safety at around 3pm.

He was taken to a hospital in Falmouth, Massachusetts, for treatment of dehydration, exposure and hypothermia. He was released on Thursday morning.

His father said his son sounded well when he spoke to him briefly on the phone.

“He's still pretty sore, a lot of sunburn, a lot of rash. Using his boots as a support, he's got a real rash under his arms,” he said, adding that his son took off his boots, turned them upside down and pushed them down to keep the air in “and that kept him somehow buoyant”.

He described the ocean conditions as “rolling” waves of about 4 to 5 feet.

“It's unbelievable the relief that we felt yesterday when we got the news” he was safe, said the elder Aldridge.

“The Coast Guard notified us every two hours of the progress they were making. I can't say enough about them.”

Joe Klinker, a Coast Guard spokesman, said: “This ending had a lot of people shaking hands and smiling.”

399

Source:
AP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Chinese scientists are designing a particle-smashing collider so massive it could encircle a city.
Critics say the government is going full-steam ahead on economic recovery at the expense of human rights.
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
join our mailing list