CLEARWATER, Fla.— The 35-year-old survivor and his dog who were rescued, Friday, met their Coast Guard heroes at the Coast Guard Air Station in Clearwater, Monday.
The mariner and his dog, Evi, were rescued after his 30-foot sailboat, Southern Belle, caught fire 69 miles west of Hudson, Florida.
The man took a tour of the air station and was able to meet the entire MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew that rescued him, including the flight mechanic, rescue swimmer, and both pilots.
“When I came back today and actually got to meet the people, it was very heartwarming to know that these people come and do their job just to, you know, come get people like me,” said the man.
Along with meeting the crew, the man shared his story, stating he hoped it would help other mariners on the water.
“You can’t ever have enough safety equipment,” he said. “Maybe if I had five more fire extinguishers I’d still have everything I owned and I’d be spending the summer with my son, and five wasn’t enough. So, just be prepared, and if you think there is a problem go ahead and call the Coast Guard.”
The man said he’ll be even more prepared when he goes back on the water; he isn’t giving up and hopes to be sailing again by Christmas.