August 26, 2013 – Fifty-one-year-old Efstathios Moumouris is recovering after treading water for 23 hours to stay alive after he was knocked off of his fishing boat in a storm on Wednesday.
Efsathios was happily fishing in the Gulf of Mexico for the day. He texted his wife, Anastasia, a picture of a fish he caught at around 1:30 p.m. and also messaged her that he was on his way home soon after.
But the weather turned nasty and Efstahios soon found himself caught in a thunderstorm. Before he had a chance to grab his life vest he fell overboard and the boat blew away so fast that he couldn't catch up with it and try to climb back on.
Anastasia became worried when she didn't hear from her husband. She told authorities and the Coast Guard searched high and low for him. "It was an intensive search, helicopters, small boats combing the area. No sign of him," said U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Gabe Somma.
Over the next 23 hours Efsathios came close to being rescued twice–once by a rescue helicopter and once by fishermen in a shrimp boat–before he was actually rescued by the Hoy family on Thursday.
Ted Hoy and his family were scalloping on Thursday afternoon when they saw something strange bobbing around in the water. "I was driving…and we just looked and said 'What is that?' We weren't sure so we headed that way," Ted explained.
When his boat got closer they realized that the thing bobbing in the water was a person! They pulled a tired but thankful Efsathious on board and learned that he had been waiting for help for a long time. "For someone treading water, he was in good condition, dehydrated but happy to be alive," Somma said.
Efsathious is now recovering at the Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center in Crystal River, Florida.