An American man who was stranded on a deserted island in the Bahamas, after drifting in an inflatable dinghy for five days, has been rescued, looking little worse for his ordeal.
Larry Sutterfield was spotted on an island in the Cay Sal Bank, in the Western Bahamas between Cuba and Florida, by a Coast Guard patrol, according to the Daily Mail. Video released by the rescue crew showed the 39-year-old emerging from a small tent he had erected on the island, before waving to grab their attention.
Sutterfield had set out for a camping trip from Marathon in the Florida Keys when he was pulled out to sea, according to the Sun Sentinel. Coast Guard Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios noted that the patrol stumbled upon the castaway completely by accident.
“He had intended to go camping and he drifted from beneath the bridge in Marathon out to sea,” he said.
“One of our routine law enforcement patrols flew over the uninhabited island and saw a fire.”
— Noted News (@NotedNews1) December 17, 2014
After observing the smoke, the patrol approached the island, quickly noticing Sutterfield’s tent. He then signaled the helicopter, waving his arms.
“We dropped a radio and food and water, and he told us what happened,” Rios said.
Sutterfield, who is from Illinois, had not been reported missing. The island had served as his home for only about a day, though he had been adrift for nearly a week.
— CBS Chicago (@cbschicago) December 17, 2014
The Coast Guard diverted the cutter Kathleen Moore to retrieve the castaway, and around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday he arrived in Key West, where he was taken to Lower Keys Medical Center by ambulance. Despite his ordeal on the island, hospital spokesman Randy Detrick noted that the castaway was in fair condition.
Captain Bart Sherwood, from Miami, leads charter trips to the Cay Sal Bank, and he described that area of the Bahamas as “wide open” and “rocky.” He noted that the region where Sutterfield found himself a castaway, about 150 miles south of Fort Lauderdale, exposes boaters to the elements, and is known for rough seas and high winds at night.
Earlier this year, a Colombian fisherman found himself a castaway after strong winds caused his boat to overturn. As the Inquisitr previously noted, he survived two days in the Pacific Ocean, floating on a Styrofoam cooler.
Rios observed that Sutterfield was extremely fortunate to survive his ordeal as a castaway on the tiny island in the Bahamas.
[Image: Coast Guard via the Daily Mail]