(SAN DIEGO) — The mayday call came in — five passengers on a sinking boat, 17 miles off the coast of San Diego, their boat without power.
The 30-foot boat lost power Saturday after the pump system failed to operate. Water weighed the vessel down, with the boat leaning precariously to one side.
Passenger Mike Jernigan knew something was drastically wrong.
“I didn’t know if there was a giant hole in the boat, or a pinhole in the boat, but there was a problem,” said Jernigan.
The passengers, who had been fishing, radioed the Coast Guard for help and fired an emergency flare, hoping for a miracle.
“We just started bailing the water out,” using water bottles, passenger John Grudzinski said. “So we were just dunking water bottles in and throwing those out.”
The water bottles could only do so much. As the situation grew increasingly dire, a good Samaritan on a nearby boat rushed to the passengers’ rescue. The Coast Guard followed moments later, using pumps to remove the water before towing the boat to safety.
“On the way back we were full of energy, full of zeal for saving lives,” Petty Officer 2nd Class Kevin Rambo said. “It’s why we joined. It’s what we’re here for.”
Jernigan is thankful for the rescue efforts. “I mean, I won’t forget these people,” he added.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
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