The US Coast Guard rescued a 25-year-old man Saturday who was reported missing after failing to return to a boat ramp in St. Augustine, Florida, for nearly two days.
Charles Gregory was spotted by an aircrew in an HC-130 Hercules airplane, the Coast Guard said in a news release, sitting in his partially submerged 12-foot jon boat about 12 miles offshore Saturday morning. He was received by EMS at Vilano Beach Fishing Pier after being pulled from the water by boat crews. He did not have any medical concerns, the Coast Guard said.
“We are pleased about the outcome in this case and I would like to thank all of our local and state partners who were heavily involved in searching for Charles and bringing him home to his family,” Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville Commander Nick Barrow and the search and rescue mission coordinator said in the release.
“While this case resulted in rescuing Charles from a life-threatening situation, it highlights the importance of having safety gear onboard and being prepared for the worst,” Barrow said. “If you plan to head out on the water, remember to have a life jacket, VHF marine grade radio, signaling devices, and an emergency personal locator beacon to contact first responders in case you are in need of assistance.”
Gregory was last seen Thursday night, the Coast Guard said in an earlier release, leaving the Lighthouse Park Boat Ramp in the Jon boat – a type of small, lightweight, and flat-bottomed vessel. On Friday evening, his family informed Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville he had not returned.
Footage of the rescue released by the Coast Guard shows Gregory seated in the inundated boat, its bow dipping beneath the water’s surface, before rescue crews reached him.
Now he’s at home recuperating, according to the owner of the surf shop where he works, who told CNN he’d spoken to both Gregory and his father.
Tory Strange had called the 25-year-old when he didn’t show up for a shift at work, saying Gregory had always been good about returning calls.
“We heard about someone missing, then we found out it was him missing,” Strange said.