The Beaufort County man, who was rescued from a fishing boat that capsized off the Maryland coast, talked about how he almost lost his life.
"[It was the] biggest wave I've ever seen. When it caught us, that was it, it was over," said Patrick Small, who lives in the town of Bath. "Fifteen seconds and our boat was in pieces."
Small was one of three men aboard the 67-foot fishing boat, Seafarer, when it sent out a distress signal at about 10:39 a.m. Wednesday, 15 miles east of Assateague Island, MD. The two other crew members, 80-year-old Walter Tate and his nephew, 60-year-old Stephen Tate, both of Pamlico Beach, are still missing.
Small said there was no time to prepare for what happened.
"The wave crested and came out and smashed our side and it started filling up with water," Small said. "The water had me pinned to the roof and a second later, the pressure just ripped the roof off and pummeled the cabin, washed me out onto the back."
The Coast Guard found Small clinging to a raft, and was able to hoist him to safety on Wednesday. But Small said staying alive was not easy.
"The nurse told me I shouldn't have lasted 45 minutes in that water. I was in it for about an hour and a half before I could get a life raft," Small said. "If I wasn't out there and it happened to me, I wouldn't believe the stuff that I was telling you."
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