Bad weather contributed to grounded sailboat

400-BOATER-RESCUED-PVBAlthough the investigation by the US Coast Guard and the Law Enforcement Division of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is not complete, preliminary statements from two men removed from a sailboat run aground in South Ponte Vedra Beach indicate that last night’s weather conditions contributed to their rescue.

Spokesman Jeremy Robshaw reported to Historic City News that just before midnight last night, a resident in the 3000 block of South Ponte Vedra Boulevard called in to advise that the vessel was beached and there appeared be people onboard.

“There were two men and a dog on the vessel at the time firefighters arrived,” Robshaw told reporters. “Our personnel assisted them through the surf onto the beach.”

The passengers, 86-year-old Francis Saunders of Port St Lucie, and 71-year-old Jerry Willis of Cocoa Beach, told emergency medical personnel that they had been adrift in the Atlantic Ocean for several days. According to their statement, they were in-route to the Bahamas in the 35-foot sailboat when they unexpectedly lost power.

The men said they lost their bearings and have been afloat without power during that time — it appears that the strong seas and winds aided in returning the vessel to shore.

As a precaution, the men, who sustained minor injuries, were transported to Flagler Hospital for evaluation and then released this morning. Their canine passenger, Alfy, was reportedly barking, wagging his tail, and glad to be on dry land.


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