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Man found clinging to capsized boat details rescue

Stuart Bee located 86 miles off of Port Canaveral

Stuart Bee had been missing since late Friday afternoon
Stuart Bee had been missing since late Friday afternoon

A man who was found clinging to his capsized boat off of Florida’s Atlantic coastline is safe but was not yet back on dry land as of Monday.

According to the Coast Guard, Stuart Bee was still on the boat that rescued him, continuing his weekend odyssey that left him stranded in the ocean.

The Coast Guard had been searching for signs of Bee and his boat since he was reported missing on Saturday. On Sunday morning, the crew aboard the container ship Angeles spotted Bee some 86 miles off of Port Canaveral.

In audio released Monday by the Coast Guard, both the captain of Angeles and the Coast Guard are relieved to learn Bee had been located.

Coast Guard: “That is the gentleman we’ve been looking for. Thank you.”

Captain of Angeles: “I am very happy for this.”

Coast Guard: “Yes, so are we. Thank you so much.”

Bee himself also realizes it’s a miracle he was found.

“I didn’t see anybody. I thought, ‘This is it,’” he can be heard telling the Coast Guard. “And then I saw a container vessel in the distance, and I don’t have my glasses and I couldn’t see if it was coming to me or no, but I began waving and took my shirt off and waved that periodically.”

According to the Coast Guard, Bee departed Cape Marina in Port Canaveral on Friday. Bee can be heard telling the Coast Guard he heard squealing sounds from the boat’s engine and tried to fix it but later woke up early Sunday morning to find water rushing in. An offshore distress broadcast was issued, alerting vessels offshore that the Coast Guard was searching for Bee and his boat. After receiving the alert, the crew aboard Angeles spotted Bee around 10 a.m. Sunday and then brought him aboard about an hour later. The crew reported Bee was safe and had no medical concerns.

The U.S. Coast Guard found the 62-year-old boater Sunday clinging to his 32-foot capsized Sea Ray. (Copyright 2020 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

“The chances of finding Bee alive were slim,” said Lt. Shawn Antonelli, command duty officer, District 7. “But he was able to stay with his boat, which helped save his life.”

In the audio, Bee tells the Coast Guard he has a personal locator beacon but couldn’t get to it in time.

“Three times I tried to hold my breath and swim down and get it, but I couldn’t reach it,” he says. “I was getting ready to go down a fourth time to try and get this because I don’t know if it activates by itself or not. I’m not aware of that, but that’s when I saw the cargo vessel, and whew, yeah, I started to wave at them, and they got closer and closer and finally responded. Whew, that it’s over.”

Angeles’ next port of call is Wilmington, Delaware. The Coast Guard said Monday that Bee is in contact with his brother, who will assist in bringing him home once in Delaware.

About the Author:

At WJXT for a quarter of a century, Mary Baer anchors the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. news weekdays.