A runaway boat caused a bit of drama off the Florida coast earlier this week.
According to a Facebook post from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, a call came in about an individual who had been thrown from his vessel Tuesday afternoon about a half mile off Pass-a-Grille Beach, near St. Pete Beach.
While the victim was treading water awaiting help, his empty boat was doing donuts at high speed, perilously near swimmers.
On the PCSO’s post entitled “Teamwork by air, land, and sea!” you can see the out-of-control watercraft in aerial footage from a police helicopter.
A marine unit was able to rescue the victim, towing him into their boat with a rope, then switch focus to the runaway vessel, all while communicating with deputies on the beach and in the sky.
“Some guy’s just snorkeling down there,” says one of the deputies in the helicopter. “Can you do me a favor? Tell the people who are just swimming by this boat that it’s just about to hit?!”
He then asks a deputy to yell or scream from the beach for people to get out.
The clip shows the PSCO boat maneuver parallel to the runaway craft; a deputy deftly hops on, stabilizes it and takes it back to shore.
“Utilizing their training, marine deputies were able to match the speed of the runaway vessel, board it, and regain control,” says the FB post, which ends with a cautionary note to to prevent this type of thing happening again to other boaters.
“While teamwork and good training fortunately helped bring this dangerous situation to a safe conclusion, if you’re operating a vessel remember to wear your life jacket and utilize an engine cut-off switch or ‘kill cord.’” Also known as a kill switch, this is a safety device that shuts off the engine of any kind of open power boat.
It remains unclear why the man was thrown off the vessel.
Many commenters were impressed by the speed in which the deputies sprung into action and got the job done.
“That looked fun, even a boat runs crazy when off its leash.”
“Looks like a movie.”
“Pretty bada-s, guys!”
“That was interesting.”
“Fantastic rescue and recovery.”