A Florida woman beat the odds by surviving a stormy night at sea with little more than flippers and a face mask, according to ABC News affiliate WFTS-TV in Tampa, Florida.
Dora Steed, 49, was out diving for scallops with her husband when their boat started to drift near St. Martens Key, Fla. While Steed’s husband was able to get the boat, he lost sight of his wife. According to the U.S Coast Guard, Steed was reported missing just before 6 p.m. on Thursday night.
The Coast Guard and other volunteer boats searched for Steed for much of the stormy night but found nothing, until Ernie Croft, a captain of a salvage boat, decided to look along the shores of uninhabited islands.
Croft found Steed in the early morning of Independence Day, more than 12 hours after she had gone missing. Croft told WFTS-TV he examined tide maps and looked at islands about a mile and half from where Steed went missing.
Once aboard Croft’s boat, Steed reportedly told Croft she survived by remaining submerged overnight since the ocean water was warmer than the stormy conditions above. To stay hydrated she told Croft she used her facemask to collect rainwater.
“She was in better shape than me really. She had been out there in that water all night long,” Croft told WFTS-TV.
There was one more surprise for Croft, the 46-year-old had managed to hang on to the scallops she had been diving for.
“I imagine her husband is cleaning those scallops right now,” Croft told WFTS-TV.