Shark fishermen rescued after boat sinks off Honeymoon Island

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Two men are safe after their boat sank early Friday morning off Honeymoon Island.

The men were participating in the Halloween Hammer Hunt shark fishing tournament with two other people at a nearby island.

The two men left the island on their boat to go get some bait and their boat started sinking.

The men managed to call 911.

“The first thing I did was pull out my phone and hold it above my head and I called a few people and then finally I called the Coast Guard,” said Ryan Hagler.

Their boat sank and the men wound up in the cold water in between Honeymoon Island and 3 Rooker Island.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office dispatched its infrared helicopter and located the men.

Emergency crews rescued them around 3:20 a.m.

The men suffered from hypothermia, but are expected to be okay.

“I’m glad that someone was able to get there cuz we were starting to panic a little bit. It was kinda cold,” said Hagler.

Chris Leith was rescued with Hagler. “I’m really thankful. I’m really thankful,” the father of four said.  “I’m really thankful, I’m really thankful.”

Leith is glad to be back on land and is looking forward to going home.

“I’m going home, seeing my kids, get something to eat, get warm, take a hot bath.”

The men lost their 11-foot-long boat and $3,000 in fishing reels.

Deputies with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and Dunedin firefighters also responded.

Watch live reports on WFLA News Channel 8.


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