Bert Lopez and Winston Lopez had were rescued off Riviera Beach, Florida when their new fishing boat sank in the ocean this past Monday. They had reportedly just purchased the 18-foot-long Four Winns fishing boat, which they had brought in for servicing before taking out on the water. It is unclear whether they have plans to sue or press charges for the boating accident, or whether charges have been filed against anyone in regards to the malfunctioning ship.
The brothers say that they took the boat out on the water in the morning, but that it began to fill up with water soon after embarking. The brothers reportedly tried to bail the ship out with a bucket to no avail, and ended up calling 911. They then flagged down the Norwegian Queen, a luxury yacht that just happened to have been passing by, by waving their neon orange life jackets in the air. They reported that the boat was completely underwater by the time the yacht was able to get over to where they were.
“Within five minutes, the boat was totally sunk,” Bert Lopez told the press after the incident. “There was a Norwegian Cruise that was passing by, we waved to them. It was a big yacht. And they came by just in time. We were in the water when they passed by to pick us up.” The Norwegian Queen reported that its’ crew conducted regular rescue mission drills, which helped greatly with rescuing the stranded boaters.
The Norwegian Cruise alerted the Coast Guard of the incident at approximately 10:00 a.m. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Marine unit met up with the Norwegian Queen in order to transport the Lopez brothers to Phil Foster Park. “If it was not for them, it would be a struggle to get to shore because it was very rough, very windy, (and there were) high waves,” said Bert Lopez of the Norwegian Cruise.
The Coast Guard is reportedly working on trying to recover the submerged vessel from under the ocean. It is unknown whether an investigation will be launched into the sudden sinking.
The incident occurred just a day after a 16-person rescue mission off of the coast of Naples, FL on Sunday. The group, which consisted of nine children and seven adults, had headed to Keewaydin island to do some camping, but a sudden storm forced them to seek high ground and huddle in the rain for hours before being rescued by firefighters at approximately 9:00 a.m. They were forced to abandon their boat, tents and other supplies, but ended up escaping the incident unscathed.
“We had a wonderful time Saturday and we were planning on getting out early this morning,” Kevin Lawhorn, the owner of the boat that brought the group to the island, told the press following the incident. “We checked the weather on our cell phones the night before and everything looked OK. We felt good about our decision and thought we’d get up at 6 a.m. and g