CLEARWATER, Fla. — Three Bay Area men spent a harrowing night at sea after their commercial fishing vessel went down.
- Kyle Haskins, Terry Britton, and Patrick Leoni were stranded after boat sank
- Coast Guard credits men for being prepared for what happened
- Haskins says he's ready to get back to work
- More Pinellas County headlines
But their quick thinking helped them survive.
Clearwater coast guard pilots rescued Kyle Haskins, Terry Britton, and Patrick Leoni when their fishing boat sank 90 miles west of Naples just after midnight.
The pilots reunited with Haskins on Monday afternoon, where he thanked them for saving their lives.
"I mean, our whole back deck's full of water. I already know we're in trouble," Haskins recalled.
Haskins said he sent a mayday call, but when they realized the boat was sinking too fast, he took matters into his own hands.
Haskins located the safety equipment and helped his fellow fishermen get off the boat.
"It was pretty much get out of there and get off the sinking ship cause it's going down. We ain't stopping it," he said.
They sat in a life raft, waiting, for two hours.
"Felt way longer," Haskins said.
The men sat in silence for the most part, he recalled, aside from some emotional moments.
"It's hard watching a 45-year-old man cry like that, you know?" Haskins said.
So Haskins stayed calm until the Coast Guard arrived.
"Training kicked in. Just do what you're supposed to," he said.
Though rescues like this are fairly common, Lieutenant Tyler Dewechter said it's rare to have boaters come out of it completely unscathed.
He credits the men's swift thinking and actions for the successful rescue.
"They did everything correctly," said Dewechter. "The men were familiar with their safety equipment, including strobe lights, EPIRB, flares and the life raft. They knew where the equipment was located, which allowed for our quick response."
The experience isn't holding Haskins back from getting back to work.
"As soon as my boat’s ready, I'm ready to go."