PORT RICHEY, Fla. — A Pasco County jet skier who was missing overnight has been found safe.
- Missing jet skier in Pasco found safe
- Cole Torrent went missing after losing control of jet ski
- Torrent is uninjured and happy to back on land with family
According to the Port Richey Fire Chief, 28-year-old Cole Torrent spent the night in a fishing house after losing control of his jet ski.
Torrent had left Nicks Park in Port Richey around noon Tuesday on his jet ski and was expected back by 5:30 p.m.
Torrent said he had stopped to help a bird caught in some netting, and by the time he had freed the bird, the jet ski had floated away.
“I guess I didn’t tie off the jet ski enough, and it had started floating away. So, I jumped in the water trying to catch it, but the current was so strong I realized after probably about 30 minutes of trying to do that, I wasn’t going to be able to catch it.”
Torrent said he found the nearest stilt house where he took shelter for the night.
“I just found the closest stilt house I could because at this point I’d started swallowing water, and the water was freezing," he said. "Luckily, I found a tarp to cover myself in, and they had a small space heater, which kept me warm through the night. I just hunkered down for the night because I knew a storm was coming in.”
Crews had been searching the Miller's Bayou waters for him for about eight hours.
Torrent said once he heard the helicopters, he got back in the water and started swimming with a life jacket on.
Once he was spotted, crews rescued him and brought him back to the Nicks Park dock, where he was reunited with family members.
“I’m just so grateful for all of them, and from what I understand, they’ve been out here all night, tirelessly looking for me. Friends and family were here, and I just can’t thank them enough for not giving up and doing what they did to find me," Torrent said.
Luckily, Torrent was not injured.
“Just happy to be on land again. Just happy it turned out the way it did. It could’ve been a lot worse,” he said.