SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KSWB) – Five men, including two contestants from the reality television show “The Bachelorette,” are lucky to be alive after their fishing trip ended with their boat underwater.
Aaron Schwartzman and his friends took to the sea for a day out in the sun, hoping to catch some fish, but soon found themselves stranded in the water for three-and-a-half hours.
The ship sank 15 to 20 miles off the coast of San Diego. Luckily for those on board, two people found them and were able to bring them back to shore.
“It’s like being trapped and helpless because there’s no service, we weren’t able to send a distress signal at all, and the only thing you have out there is hope, hope that somebody finds you, hope that a helicopter flies over,” Schwartzman, who owned the boat, said to Nexstar’s KSWB on Monday.
“I finally bought the boat of my dreams, or so I thought, for it to sink on me,” Schwartzman said.
He and his friend Brayden Bowers met while filming the latest season of “The Bachelorette.” They were both contestants on the show’s 20th season, in which the contestants were competing for the love of “Bachelorette” Charity Lawson.
“My buddy Gavin, he got his line stuck on the engine propeller, so Aaron just went to the back of the boat to lift the engine up and try and untangle it. All of a sudden, as soon as he stands on the swim deck, the boat literally just sunk,” Bowers said.
The group of men made up of members of the fire service, dispatch and the military, were well aware of how to respond in a high-intensity situation.
“We just tried to paddle to shore, so we linked arms, and we kind of just started kicking,” said Bowers.
Less than a minute later, the vessel submerged the group made up of family and friends lost at sea.
“You think of the next steps, but what are the next steps when you’re 15 miles in the ocean – in a wind swell?” Schwartzman said.
Just before all hope was lost, another boat arrived. Chris Keeran and his cousin TJ came to the rescue after spotting something reflective in the water while out fishing.
“For whatever reason, we came to look to see if it was holding fish and that’s when we saw the guys in the water,” TJ said.
“We were looking for yellowfin tuna and then found a school of men,” said Chris Keeran.
“It never ever occurs to you as a rescuer that you might need rescuing, but when you do, it’s good to know that people will step up the way you would,” Schwartzman said.
“We don’t consider ourselves heroes; we’re doing whatever any other fisherman would consider doing,” Keeran said. “I’m just so grateful by the grace of God, we actually did see something reflective. Just the things that had to add up just to get to them. I mean, once we did find them, that was our best catch of the day.”