Two teenagers from Islamorada and the uncle of one of the boys saved two families, including a mother and her two young children, who were in grave danger in choppy waters near the Florida Keys.
Mason Baker, 17, Will Coffin, 18, and Coffin’s uncle, Dave Tolhurst, 54, had gone fishing, and at a certain time on Saturday afternoon they saw a 23-foot boat how it was dumped near Conch Reef, southeast of Plantation Key.
There were four adults and a four-year-old child strapped to the ship’s hull. One of the two women in the group had a three-and-a-half-month-old baby on a chest strap.
“I did not know what could happen,” Baker said Tuesday. “We realized that something bad could happen to them and that the situation was not going to end well.”
Before approaching the boat in trouble, Tolhurst and the boys radioed the Coast Guard for help. After arriving at the ship, they took the mother and her two children aboard her boat.
The captain of the vessel decided to stay on his ship until the Coast Guard arrived, Baker said. Another woman in the group began swimming towards Tolhurst’s boat but returned to help a man who had difficulty staying afloat in the strong surf.
The crew of a Coast Guard cutter arrived at the accident site and took the mother, the pilot of the boat and the children aboard the cutter. Tolhurst picked up three refrigerators with food from the overturned boat that were floating nearby and took the other couple to the Tavernier Creek Marina where they met with the crew of the rope cutter.
Baker said there was much more wind than expected and the sea conditions had worsened. The people he, Coffin and Tolhurst rescued told him that suddenly, for some reason, the boat began to water and sink before they could call for help. “Everything happened very fast,” Baker said. “Before they could react, the boat had already capsized.”
At the moment, the names of the people on the injured boat have not been released, but Baker said they were from Miami-Dade County and Melbourne. Both Baker and Coffin are seniors at Coral Shores High School in Tavernier and plan to start their studies at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in August.
Mason’s mother, Jill Miranda-Baker, said that although she is impressed by what her son and Coffin did in the water, she is not surprised. “Mason is a very humble and quiet boy, just like Will is,” said Miranda-Baker. “They never got scared and handled the rescue as if it were another day in the water. As a mother, I feel immensely proud. ”
Source: El Nuevo Herald