Stuart Bee was found drifting in the water almost two days after he first set off from Florida’s east coast (Picture: US Coast Guard Southeast)
A sailor who disappeared off Florida’s east coast was found alive two days later clinging to his capsized motorboat almost 90 miles from shore.
Stuart Bee, 62, set out from Cape Marina in Port Canaveral in his boat, named Stingray, at around 4pm on Friday afternoon.
His family raised the alarm when he failed to return, telling the US Coastguard he never typically stayed out on the water overnight.
They dispatched a C-130 aircraft to join in the search and on Sunday morning the crew of a passing container ship spotted Mr Bee clinging on to the bow.
The 32ft boat suffered mechanical issues some time on Saturday and Mr Bee was woken in the early hours of Sunday to water rushing into the front cabin.
Shortly after sunrise he spotted the container ship, the Angeles, and flagged it down by waving his shirt above his head, the Coastguard said.
Photos show the moment he was pulled out of the water and helped aboard.
The moment Mr Bee was rescued (Picture: US Coast Guard Southeast)
He was found drifting 86 miles offshore
In a Facebook post, a merchant mariner onboard the Angeles, Lacruiser Relativo, said he offered Mr Bee his ‘lucky shirt’ to wear.
He wrote: ‘I wish him the same comfort this shirt has given me during those tiring job interviews. Just like him, I was lucky to get the job. He was lucky too that our course crossed near Atlantic.’
Mr Relativo added: ‘By the look on his face, I saw his teary eyes as he made sign of the cross. He was drifted in the open sea for days, maintaining his stance at the top of his capsized boat, to not make any single move as it may trigger his yacht to sink fully.’
Mr Bee was missing for nearly two days (Picture: US Coast Guard Southeast)
He was found clinging to a small section of the boat which was still above the water (Picture: US Coast Guard Southeast)
One of the crew deployed to search for Mr Bee said he is lucky to be alive (Picture: US Coast Guard Southeast)
Coastguard Petty Officer Veronica Dunn-Depretis told ABC News Mr Bee is lucky to be alive, adding: ‘It’s amazing. It’s 86 miles offshore.’
She said he had no injuries and there was no obvious reason why his boat capsized.
The officer described how Mr Bee was found holding onto a small portion of the boat’s hull which was protruding from the water.
She said of the passing crew: ‘He was clinging to that when they came across him and they pulled him up on their vessel.’
Captain Mark Vlaun, commanding officer of Sector Jacksonville, praised the ‘truly incredible outcome’.
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