3 rescued after boat capsizes under Sunshine Skyway bridge

By Tim Wronka, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 01, 2017, 10:34 AM EDT

The usually beautiful waters off the Sunshine Skyway bridge turned violent Sunday, capsizing a small boat with three people on board. 

  • 3 people rescued after boat capsizes under Skyway bridge
  • Windy conditions caused boat to tip over
  • Nearby jet skier helped bring boaters to safety

"It happened in the blink of an eye. One second you see a little bit of water coming; the next, the water is rushing in, and the boat started to sink," Stephen Lavelle said.

Lavelle and two friends, who were out fishing, knew the waters were choppy, and were headed back to Johns Pass when the high winds made their boat tip over.

"One second it was all fine. Then the whole dynamic changed to a panic almost, really not knowing what to do. The boat was going down," Lavelle said.

Thankfully, they were spotted by nearby Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Jim Covert, who flagged down David Teichman, who was jet skiing nearby. 

"The mood was uplifted a bit, knowing that someone saw us out there," he said. 

Teichman actually used his jet ski to get the boaters to safety while other crews arrived.

The boaters say they owe him their lives.

"At the end of the day, we're very fortunate for us to be there. It could have been a lot different," Lavelle said. 

A jet skier helped rescued 3 people whose boat capsized Sunday under the Sunshine Skyway bridge. (Spectrum Bay News 9 image)

Several boating advisories were posted on Sunday because of high winds, and first responders say capsizing is always a worry on windy days.