Southern California

Fishermen Plucked From Chilly Ocean Clung to Faith

Four men fishing about four miles off the coast of Long Beach were rescued today after their 20-foot boat capsized, authorities said.

Lifeguards pulled four fishermen from the chilly Pacific Ocean off the Southern California coast on Wednesday after their boat capsized.

For an hour and a half early Wednesday morning the four were in the water, clinging onto the side of their boat. They said they held onto their faith, and a flashlight.

"Rough water, high winds," said Kevin Frentescu, who was thrown overboard. "Tide was coming in hard, very hard." 

Aerial footage of the dramatic rescue showed a lifeguard straddling the bottom the 18-foot aluminum powered boat that capsized.

"It's a scary moment," said Scott Dixon, the marine safety captain at the Long Beach Fire Department. "You're out there. It's a big sea, a lot of weather."

Robert Tirado and his three friends had been desperate for help in the water for an hour and a half, clinging onto a rope from their boat.

"Just hoping someone sees us," he said. "We wanted the helicopter to fly over, something. We just need one person to see us."

Tirado said someone on a tanker boat finally noticed them and called for help.


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"We had a light we were flashing because it was night," Tirado said. "We were flashing for about an hour non-stop. We saw guys walking on it so we started screaming, waving our hands."

He said he tried to stay warm and positive, praying that they would come out of this alive.

"Once you go into that mode of just thinking something bad is going to happen, you are blinded with uncertainty," he said. "You can't have that happen at that moment."

Tirado's friend, who was also rescued, said they tied a rope around their waists.

He said they underestimated the conditions when they left for what was supposed to be a fun fishing trip around 3 a.m. on Wednesday.

Tirado said he stayed positive by thinking about his 2-year-old son, Elias, who watched his dad's rescue on TV.

"I experienced something crazy," he said. "I didn't want to lose faith. I have something to go home to."

It was Tirado's first fishing trip and his family says it will probably be his last.

"We are not going to let him go on another fishing trip," said Mercedes Moreno, his sister. "No more!"

Nyree Arabian contributed to this report.

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