CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Three boaters were rescued in the "nick of time" after a terrifying ordeal left them stranded in the Gulf of Mexico for over 24 hours.
The United States Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi was called offshore near New Orleans, Louisiana, for a boat that never returned from a fishing trip.
When Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi arrived on the scene, they used radar to identify a boat of interest in the area.
The U.S. Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans then received a call from a concerned family member who got a call from one of the missing boaters still stranded in the middle of the sea.
Coast Guard crews quickly diverted to the location in the water and began to search for the missing boaters.
"The 144 crew happened to find a 'tide line' on the outer portions of the search area filled with various debris and trash," officials said in a social media post.
Crew members spotted a surviving boater floating in the water, and a rescue swimmer helped him into a small rescue boat, then other rescuers were able to hoist him up into safety.
"The Coast Guard searched an area spanning 1,250 square miles, slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island, in order to locate the men," said officials from the U.S. Coast Guard Station Venice.
"After continued searching, the 144 crew was able to spot two other survivors who were clinging to the coolers floating in the water," added officials.
US Coast Guard crew members said all three survivors were medevacked by helicopter to a nearby hospital.
According to the US Coast Guard, all three of the boaters experienced severe hyperthermia, dehydration, and fatigue, but they are all now in stable condition.
The boaters said they experienced shark attacks during their 28 hours adrift in the sea and suffered injuries to their hands from fending off sharks in the Gulf of Mexico.