Incredible Journey: 25-Year-Old’s Struggle to Stay Alive at Sea

The father of a 25-year-old man who went missing at sea for about 1.5 days told CNN that his son did everything he could to stay alive, including taking the engine out of the boat so that it would float more easily.

CNN said that Charles Gregory was fishing off the coast of St. Augustine, Florida, on Friday when the tide unexpectedly surged, creating a big wave that swept him from his small, flat-bottomed boat. Even though he was able to get back on the boat, the tide took him out to sea, where he reportedly stayed for 30 hours.

Raymond Gregory, the man’s father, said on CNN that his son was sunburned because there was no shade. Even worse, the man’s father stated, the man had to face the bitter cold at night, when his sunburn was at its worst. His father also claimed that his son was stung by a jellyfish and saw sharks.

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“He was scared to death,” he added. “He said he’s had more conversations with God in that 30 hours than he’s had his whole life.” In a news release, the United States Coast Guard said that on Friday night, they received a tip that Gregory was missing and that on Saturday, personnel located him.

A plane crew saw Gregory in his “partially submerged” 12-foot boat about 12 miles off the coast of St. Augustine, according to the statement. According to the news release, the Coast Guard came to Gregory’s aid and brought him back to dry land. His father told CNN that Gregory attempted several survival strategies, including turning off the boat’s motor so it would float in the water.

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His father also reported that his son took down his swim trunks and waved them in an attempt to attract passing boats or planes. According to his father, Gregory is having trouble moving around due to his injuries, but doctors expect him to make a full recovery.

He also has rhabdomyolysis, a disorder caused by heat in which proteins and electrolytes are released into the blood from injured muscle tissues. The father, though, told CNN, “At the end of the day, the whole moral of the story is ‘don’t ever give up.‘”

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