A commercial fisherman was rescued after spending 12 hours in the Atlantic after falling off of his boat.
According to ABC News, John Aldridge, Jr., 43, fell overboard the Anna Mary at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Other fishermen on board noticed he was missing in the morning, and they reported him missing to the Coast Guard.
Aldridge was found seven hours later, 43 miles south of Montauk.
The Coast Guard seemed surprised that they were able to find the fisherman and rescue him.
“Initially, we couldn’t believe what we saw,” said Lt. Michael Deal, a helicopter pilot for the U.S. Coast Guard said.
“It felt we had struck gold or won the lottery. To actually find him and the condition he was, we were elated as he was. It was a phenomenal feeling.”
Deal told ABC News the helicopter had been searching for seven hours and was about to go back for the day when they extended the search for 30 more minutes.
“We handed him a couple of bottles of water, got him some blankets, he was pretty grateful for us,” Deal said.
“He was grateful for everybody’s efforts. He told us he had been praying for this moment since he entered the water.”
“A pair of boots, T-shirt and shorts and my knife,” Aldridge says, listing the items he had with him.
Aldridge told CBS News, “Fins swimming around me, and I’m like, ‘I can’t even deal with that. It must have been a shark.”
CBS News continued to say that when asked if there had ever been a point at which he though he was all alone, Aldridge replied with:
“I wouldn’t let that thought come into my head. Positive thinking the whole time. Death was not an option.”
“I immediately set goals for myself: OK, I’m floating on these boots. I’m above the water, I’m breathing. The water’s warm. All right, that’s one goal,” Aldridge recalls.
“Next goal: I got to stay alive until sunrise. If I make it to sunrise, they’re going to call the Coast Guard and come looking for me. They’ll be able to find me.”
Deal told ABC News the situation could have been a lot worse.
“To be frank about it, a lot of them don’t come out with the outcome that happened yesterday. Eight months out of the year, the water isn’t conducive for survival for 30 minutes, let alone 12 hours.
It’s not very standard someone floats for 12 hours in the Atlantic ocean,” Deal said. “Thank God it was the middle of summer. It was a benefit in allowing him to continue to stay alive.”
Check out the video below to see what the fisherman rescued after 12 hours at sea had to say about the ordeal:
[Image by New York Coast Guard via gCaptain]