MONTEREY (KPIX 5) — A woman who set out on Monterey Bay to chase the sunset Tuesday ended up clinging to her inflatable raft for 15 hours overnight, stranded in the frigid waters.
The Coast Guard said once the engine fell off and punctured the boat, she had nothing but a tiny oar and incredible will power.
Fisherman Mike Ricketts and deckhand Joe Davi spotted the woman about two miles off Lover’s Point Wednesday morning. The raft was folded up and 80 percent underwater.
“From the looks of her skin, she still had some red in her and stuff, so she must have been swimming, fighting you know? She said she had flares, but it was really foggy last night,” Davi said.
“She was just too cold to react to anything. She was just, ‘I’m cold,’” Ricketts said.
The pair did not have the strength to lift her onto their boat. She clung onto the side of it until the Coast Guard arrived. The Monterey City Fire Department said the woman was conscious but had hypothermia.
“This woman survived on her own all night,” said Capt. Barry Perkins of the fire department. “It’s probably very lonely, psychologically stressful situation to be out there, but she maintained the will to survive and the fact that she had a life jacket on helped ensure her survival.”
The fire captain said if not for the fisherman, it would have been impossible to find the woman. “Anytime you run into somebody you help,” Ricketts said.
“It was an extremely good stroke of good luck that she was found,” Barry said.
The Coast Guard said the woman is 45-years-old and from San Diego. Her name has not been released. She is expected to be released from the hospital in the next 48 hours.