Man rescued after clinging to capsized boat off Florida coast for 2 days: "I thought, ‘This is it’"

A man who was rescued at sea off the coast of Florida is talking about his ordeal. CBS Philadelphia was there when Stuart Bee, who had just arrived in Wilmington, Delaware, spoke two days after he was found clinging to his capsized vessel. 

“I fell asleep and the water came gushing in and pushed me to the front,” he said.

That was Friday, some 86 miles off of Florida’s coast. The 62-year-old was alone on his boat.

#MustSee: Stuart Bee is recovered by the 225-foot motor vessel, #Angeles. The crew spotted the man clinging to the bow of the vessel and took him aboard and will transport him to shore. #BREAKING
Photo credit: crew member aboard the m/v Angeles. pic.twitter.com/1MSKcVRYG5

Bee said he didn’t even have time to send out a distress signal, but he was able to climb on top of the bow, the only part of the vessel still above water.

“For a minute there I was thinking this is really bad. There is no one around,” he said.

Bee clung on top of his capsized boat for more than two days before he was rescued by an angel of sorts.

“I took my shirt off and waved at it several times,” said Bee.

A 738-foot shipping boat, the Angeles, carrying a load of Chiquita bananas from Florida to Delaware, spotted the distressed boater.

“‘Hi, uh good morning. This is motor vessel Angeles. We just rescued one person from a capsizing boat,'” the vessel’s captain said, according to a satellite call released by the Coast Guard. “Stuart Bee.”

“Yes, sir, that is the gentleman we’ve been looking for. That is the gentleman we’ve been looking for. Thank you,” a member from the Coast Guard said.

On the call, Bee told the Coast Guard: “I didn’t see anybody. I thought, ‘This is it.'”

The captain notified the Coast Guard they would continue on their way with their new passenger to the port in Wilmington.

“My crew is taking care of him. Give him some blankets and some dry clothes,” the captain said.

Bee said his trip to Wilmington was better than even the most opulent cruise.

“Those guys are just the nicest people ever,” said Bee. “They kept feeding me, and I said, ‘I don’t eat that much.'” 

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