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Rescued Boater Describes Near-Death Experience Off Assateague Island

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WORCESTER COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — The search for two missing boaters near Assateague Island has been called off.

Kai Jackson explains the Coast Guard did manage to find a third crew member.

As that search is suspended, one man who was saved is telling his amazing story.

Video shows Patrick Small as he is hoisted to safety by the United States Coast Guard on Wednesday. He and two others were on board a fishing boat called “The Seafarer,” when a coastal storm hit the vessel and crew 15 miles off Assateague Island in Worcester County.

“Biggest wave I’ve ever seen. When it caught us that was it, it was over,” said Small.

Patrick Small from New Bern, N.C. says the 67-foot boat lost its rudder and was being towed by a trawler when a rogue wave obliterated his boat.

Small says in 15 seconds “The Seafarer” was in pieces, and he and two crewmates–who are missing–were in the water.

“A nurse told me I shouldn’t have lasted 45 minutes in that water. I was in it for about an hour and a half,” he said.

He made it to a life raft and was in that another hour. A Coast Guard crew from Chincoteague, Va. rescued Small.

“I thought I had lost my husband and my children were not going to have a father. You know, it was pretty bad and I didn’t really know what to think because nobody knew anything,” his wife said. ‘They found him floating in the life raft and he’s beaten, cut up pretty bad. He has a laceration on his face.’

The other missing boaters have been identified as 80-year-old Walter Tate and Steven Tate, both also from New Bern, N.C.

There’s no word from the U.S. Coast Guard whether they will resume that search at any point.

A Coast Guard official says the conditions were some of the worst he’s seen in 20 years.

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