Quick thinking and teamwork is credited with saving the lives of eight people who were stranded in waters off of Hawaii after their boat sank, overcome by huge waves.
The stranded boaters – four teens and four adults – struggled to keep their heads above water, bobbing in the Kaiwi Channel. Mark Reeves, 15, documented the adventure with his Go-Pro camera.
The group had been on an overnight trip aboard a 21-foot boat when they say it started taking on water 12 miles from shore.
Lifeguard Jeff Kozlovich was one of the stranded passengers.
“It got scary rough real fast, where waves were breaking over the bow,” Kozlovich said. “Before we knew it, too much water was in the boat.”
Fortunately, the group was able to grab lifejackets and kayaks from the boat before it sank.
The group also got out their cell phones and started making calls. A special tracking device onboard – an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, or EPIRB – automatically went off when the boat capsized, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
The boaters tied their kayaks together so they wouldn’t lose each other. And then they waited, battling the crashing waves and beating sun for two hours, until a Coast Guard helicopter arrived. Rescue crews secured each person, one by one, and lifted them to the chopper above. All of the boaters were okay following the rescue. The incident left Kozlovich with perspective.
“It could have been bad, it really could have,” Kozlovich said. “You have to have a lot of respect for the ocean.”