A dramatic video shows a daring rescue by the U.S. Coast Guard, which later confirmed their crew found the three fishermen surrounded by sharks 25 miles off the coast of Louisiana.
The Coast Guard said it was nothing short of a miracle that the men survived and that they found them when they did.
“You’re looking down and it’s like seeing a coconut in the water to be able to find a person so, the fact that our crews were able to spot them is really incredible and they are incredibly lucky that we did find them,” said Petty Officer First Class Emily Wilhite with the U.S. Coast Guard New Orleans Sector.
Officials say the Coast Guard crews searched an area of about 1,200 square miles, which is bigger than the state of Rhode Island.
With nothing more than life jackets and clothes on their backs, the men were airlifted from the water one by one.
“They may have been worried about the sharks attacking them as well, but I think they just found them and pulled them in as quick as they could,” Wilhite said.
The Coast Guard was able to get all three men safely onboard the Jayhawk helicopter.
“The Yeti cooler that they were holding onto did have food and water in that. There were two people holding onto that cooler so I think that probably helped. The fact that they were with each other really bolsters your will to live,” Wilhite said.
Authorities said two of the men were bitten on their hands by the sharks they were fending off. All the men showed signs of hypothermia and were in stable condition as they were being treated at a hospital in New Orleans.