SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – For Steven Brubacher, being prayerful is a daily practice. This father has raised his family to rely on faith. He had no idea how quickly and dramatically it would be tested.
On Sunday morning, Steven, his brother-in-law Darren Martin, and their boys set out for a quick fishing trip on Sarasota Bay. It was a familiar spot for Steven, and he was excited to share the experience with family visiting from Canada. It would soon turn into a trip both dads and their sons would never forget.
They headed out that morning before 9 a.m.
Soon, Steven saw that the little ones, Logan, Keegan and Simeon, had wet feet in the canoe.
“The little guys were wet and cold. We were getting ready to call it a day,” Steven said with a sigh.
At that moment, a quick current toppled the five family members, forcing them into the frigid water.
Their canoe capsized.
“It was almost like slow motion and it was like, ‘this isn’t happening is it,’” the Sarasota dad recalled. “The boat went all the way, and the little guys were floating with their life jackets.”
At first, the two dads weren’t worried. After all, their boys were wearing life jackets, and someone would surely come along quickly.
“We were stuck. We were stuck right where we were. It seems crazy ’cause Sarasota Bay is so shallow, most of it. We were just in the perfectly wrong place,” Steven told News Channel 8.
Turns out, in the most trying times – it’s tough to find faith.
“There was no options of, ‘hey, you stay with the boys, I’ll swim here or there.’ It took both of us to keep these boys from drowning,” said Steven.
For more than an hour, the parents and their sons struggled to survive.
Hypothermia began setting in, and Steven’s 6-year-old son began to lose consciousness. In those desperate moments, the dads dug deep.
Their panic soon turned to prayer.
“We were at the bottom of ourselves and we knew our only help was if God sends a boat.”
“I see a paddle waving in the air. There are people in the ocean,” said Taylor Rahn, from Ultimate Fishing Adventures. The fishing charter captain wasn’t supposed to be out on the water Sunday morning. His clients originally canceled that day because it was cold.
He feels he was put there for a purpose. So does Steven Brubacher.
It brings tears to the eyes of the Sarasota dad when he thinks about the moment he saw Taylor’s boat approaching .
“Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord. This is, we’re going to make it. It’s just unbelievable,” he told us.. “The Lord asks us to look to him and be humble. Our prayers were answered.”
The captain navigated the water quickly and rushed the family to shore where EMS crews were waiting.
“They probably wouldn’t have made it another 20, 30 minutes to an hour,” he said.
The boys were airlifted to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, while their dads were driven to the emergency room.