Man who was lost at sea reunites with Coast Guard crew that rescued him
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (WJXT) - Members of the United States Coast Guard met up with the man whose life they saved in early August for a happy reunion in Florida on Thursday.
Charles Gregory was swept out to sea while fishing. He was lost for 30 hours before being rescued by the Coast Guard.
On Thursday, the 25-year-old and his parents, Raymond and Debra Gregory, were able to express their gratitude to the rescue crew.
“Today, I need to celebrate you guys because you all guys rock,” Charles Gregory’s father, Raymond, said.
The crews rescued Charles Gregory after his small boat capsized and he was swept out to sea 12 miles from the coast of St. Augustine.
“I couldn’t slow down fast enough before I was in the swells and rolls the boat,” Charles Gregory said. “I lose my life jacket, my flares, my radios.”
Charles Gregory said once he lost sight of land, he lost hope.
“It’s a very odd feeling knowing that you’re going to die before you have any of the symptoms, like I’m still fine. I’m not like super dehydrated yet. I was like, it’s just a matter of time,” Charles Gregory said.
Crews were out searching by sea and by air.
It was by aircraft that U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Evan Ewald spotted something on the radar that turned out to be the missing boater.
“I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be flying in that sea, but it has been about 17 years and it will probably be the highlight of my career,” Ewald said.
Help was on the way.
The Coast Guard crew pulled Charles Gregory on board their boat, throwing a blanket on him to shield him from the sun.
“That was one of the craziest moments of my life,” Charles Gregory described.
Charles Gregory was dehydrated, bruised, sunburned and stung by jellyfish when he was found.
“That’s the happiest I’ve ever been to be in a hospital,” he said.
After a few days, Charles Gregory was back on his feet.
“I’d say I’m more grateful for, you know, every day that you have. Obviously not that I wasn’t before, but as far as mentally, I’m fine. You know, as long as my family is fine, I’m good.” Charles Gregory said.
He said he’s still enjoying the water. His family is filled with joy to have him back and thankful for those who saved their son.
“We will love them for ever and ever,” Debra Gregory said.
Plaques were handed out to the agencies involved to show gratitude.
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