Man rescues 4 after boat capsizes

Another boater rescues men from capsized boat in approaching storm

Photo Courtesy Florida Today
Photo Courtesy Florida Today (Photo Courtesy Florida Today)

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Four men were rescued after their boat capsized in the Indian River.

Brevard County Fire Rescue said a 911 call reporting distressed boats was dispatched at 6:18 p.m. Tuesday.

When the rescuers arrived, three of the boaters were being brought to shore by another boater. The fourth boater was attempting to bring the boat to shore.

The men said their boat ran out of gas and was capsized in rough waters.

Local 6 news partner Florida Today reports Paul Baumann, 66, was testing the motor on his Hobie power skiff on the Indian River Lagoon on Tuesday afternoon when the engine quit, Baumann said.

He and three other boaters found themselves stranded in an approaching storm. They tried to paddle the boat back to shore. The boat capsized and the boaters held onto the overturned vessel until help arrived.

"It wasn't anything to be afraid of, really, because the Hobie power skiff does not sink," Baumann told Florida Today. "That's just the way it is."

Jason Hart noticed the stranded men from his house.

"It looked like they were walking on water, which is what grabbed my attention," Hart said. As Hart was calling 9-1-1, he watched the boat capsize. He saw Baumann and another man standing on the overturned boat. He said he was worried about a third boater who was swimming away.

"He was treading water for a while," Hart said. "He disappeared a few times, and I thought he was dead. That's when I said ‘We've got to go now.' People get confused with distance, especially in panic mode. "The river is a lot wider than it looks."

He called the authorities, but used his own boat to rescue three of the men before police or fire personnel could arrive. One boater refused to leave the boat and was attempting to bring it to shore, according to Lt. Jeff Taylor of Brevard County Fire-Rescue. All four men were uninjured.

A small craft advisory has been issued by the National Weather Service for the coastal waters from the Volusia/Brevard county line to Sebastian Inlet through Thursday morning. Intracoastal water conditions are expected to be rough with showers likely through Wednesday.