CHICAGO (CBS) — Two Chicago men clung to their capsized boat for 22 hours near Marathon, Florida.
Tonight, one of the men, Phil McCloud, is telling his story of survival.
“I’m sore and tired and in pain,” said Phil McCloud. “But I’m alive and I’m thankful for that.”
Phil McCloud says he has a lot to be thankful for. He spoke to CBS 2 News via his son’s phone from a hospital bed in Miami.
Sunday evening, he and a friend were out in the middle of the ocean in the Florida Keys. They say their 17-foot boat capsized hours later in the rough waters.
“In a succession of three waves, it’d take five seconds apart,” recalled McCloud. “We got 300 gallons of water in the boat.”
That was the beginning of a 22 hour ordeal for McCloud and his friend, Calvin Kau. They spent the first 14 hours on top of the boat, just trying to stay on.
“Every wave would wash over,” said McCloud.
Around 8 a.m. Monday, McCloud got off the boat to look for supplies underneath. That’s when he lost his grip on the rope he’d been holding and began to drift away from it.
“He ran out of gas and wasn’t able to swim back to the boat and it just kept getting farther and farther away,” said T.J. McCloud, the survivor’s son. “He’s lucky to be alive.”
McCloud spent six hours alone at sea. He says he started swimming, not knowing what direction he was going, but says he never panicked.
The coast guard eventually found his friend, still with the boat, and then rescued McCloud.
McCloud says he won’t let this incident deter him, but says next time, he’ll get a bigger boat.