Home / National News / Stranded Couple 'Floatin’ Around' in the Ocean for 14 Hours


(HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.) — A Florida couple is happy to be alive after drifting helplessly in the Atlantic Ocean for 14 hours.

Mellisa Morris, 52, and Sean McGovern, 50, say their nightmare at sea started at around 6 p.m. Friday, when they somehow fell off their 30-foot Island Hopper boat near Key Largo, Florida, leaving them stranded in the open water and all alone, except for each other and the creatures of the deep.

Yes, they feared for sharks. But they had a technique for survival. They say they tried treading water, but when exhaustion set in, they decided to drift on their backs, with no floatation devices. The current took them 75 miles north, all the way from Key Largo to Hallandale Beach.

There, four fisherman — who happened to include two off-duty detectives and a paramedic — spotted what they thought were birds.

“We headed that way and the closer we get, we realize it was actually a female waving a shirt up in the air,” said Keith Silvis, a firefighter and paramedic for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office fire rescue department.

Rescuer Steve Couch couldn’t believe Morris and McGovern were floating without life jackets.

“It was incredible. It’s hard enough to find fish, but two people floating out in the water. It was pretty strange,” Couch said.

They are only suffering from some jellyfish stings and minor hypothermia. Their boat was found washed ashore in Fort Lauderdale.

Morris is glad to be back on dry land.

“We’re fine,” she said. “We’d just like to take care of what we need to take care of so we can go home.”

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