Monroe miracle: Fishermen found alive
Sat, 04 Jul 2009 02:45:02 GMT —
It is the happy ending rescuers were not expecting: four Michigan boaters lost in Lake Erie for an entire day are found alive.
The men were spotted more than 18 miles from the place in Monroe, Michigan where they launched.
"This is basically a miracle," said Joe Schumaker, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office helicopter pilot on the crew that spotted the men.
Rescuers spotted the capsized boat in Canadian waters around 5:30 Friday evening. They were not sure they would find the fishermen alive.
"It was pretty well almost graded to a recovery of debris," said Schumaker.
But then an officer on this helicopter saw something.
"If he didn't see that guy then we would probably not have found him tonight because we were doing a grid search north of the islands out there and this guy was south so it was fortunate that one of our officers saw him with binoculars," said Schumaker.
The crew went off course to follow the lead. The object was hard to make out.
"You can't hardly see the boat it was submerged and the people were basically sitting right on top of it," said Schumaker.
The officer called it one of the best rescues in the department's history and it certainly gave the families the result they were praying for.
"This is the best ending that I've flown to tell you the truth," said Schumaker.
The four men were taken to Mercy Memorial Hospital in Monroe for treatment of hypothermia and shock.
They say a five foot wave capsized their boat.