The dramatic search for a missing boater, Charles Gregory, came to a remarkable conclusion when he was found drifting approximately 12 miles off St. Augustine, Florida, by the U.S. Coast Guard. The 25-year-old had set out from the Lighthouse Park Boat Ramp late on Thursday, August 3, and was reported missing the following day.
After nearly two days, an HC-130 Hercules airplane aircrew from the Coast Guard spotted Gregory sitting in his partially submerged jon boat. The boat was largely underwater, with the front submerged below the surface. Gregory’s small boat had been filled with water, likely due to a rogue wave knocking it over and another wave causing it to capsize, as described by The Surf Station, a local surf shop where Gregory was an employee.
During the ordeal, Gregory faced challenges such as sharks occasionally circling his boat. He had to tread water near the boat to avoid the sharks and temporarily get on the boat to escape them, which eventually led to the boat sinking.
Despite the dire circumstances, Gregory survived the experience without life-threatening injuries, although he suffered from severe sunburn and atrophied leg muscles. He was rescued, brought ashore, and taken to a waiting ambulance.
The rescue effort was nothing short of miraculous, with Gregory’s father expressing gratitude for his son’s safe return. The remarkable survival story serves as a testament to human resilience and the dedication of search and rescue teams who tirelessly work to ensure the safety of those in distress at sea.