Princess Rescues Swimmer

Friday, April 1, 2011 - 2:09pm

Tour boat "Fort Myers Princess" pulls wayward swimmer to safety.

People aboard a Florida cruise ship spot a distressed swimmer and the captain was able to get the man to safety.

Captain Gene Becker spends most of his days on the water, but he says Wednesday "was an unusual day."

He was bringing his tour boat back to Fort Myers Beach when something caught his passengers' attention.

"Our customers are always looking for dolphin and they started pointing at something in the water," Becker said.

What they saw wasn't a dolphin: it was a man floating in the channel.

"We went over to him and you could just see in his eyes it was something wrong," Becker described. "He started yelling to us that his legs were cramping up and that he can't stay afloat. At that moment, I grabbed a life ring and threw it to him."

The man grabbed hold while the Fort Myers Princess pulled him along.

Captain Becker radioed the Coast Guard for help.

"Within a few minutes, they were out there. We pulled him out of the water," Becker described. "When he got on the Coast Guard inflatable, he was bowing to us and thanking us."

The man was taken back to the Coast Guard station where he was examined and released.

Captain Gene says this tourist got lucky and others should learn from his mistake.

"As a tourist, or someone visiting, you need to realize the pass is not the place to be swimming in because there is a very strong current," Becker explained.

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