US Coast Guard Tows Stranded Boat into Panama City Marina

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PANAMA CITY -- Two men heading back home to Miami on a yacht ended up spending three days stranded in the gulf. The Coast Guard rescued them and brought them ashore this afternoon in Panama City. Both say they're grateful to be alive.

The odyssey at sea, for two south Florida men, began Wednesday, when they left Panama City on-board a 46-foot motor yacht named the Lyllian.

One of them had bought the vessel and they were taking it back to Miami. But that plan fell apart 12 hours out to sea, when the vessel's engines quit. There was also a fuel problem. The pair drifted in the gulf for three days.

Ben, stranded boater said, "We were already forty miles out and knew that if we didn't find somebody we already talked about it we had better chances of going out there and…and ending it than getting saved."

Then a passing fishing boat spotted them early Friday morning.

Stranded Boater Tony Montero said, "The captain of the Big Jim 2 Mr. Captain Price spotted our signal light and pulled up his anchor and came to our rescue, came in close enough where we could get radio contact with him and he notified the Coast Guard for us."

The Coast Guard Cutter Coho reached the Lyllian around 6:00 Friday morning. The vessel was about 30 miles south of Port St. Joe.

Petty Officer Richard Marston, USCG Cutter Coho, said, "They were pretty weathered and pretty glad to see us by the time that we got out there."

Coast Guard crews threw the men a line and towed the vessel back to the Panama

City Marina. It took the Coast Guard about 9 hours to tow the vessel into port.

Ben and Tony say the experience was one they will never forget.

"It was a relief beyond words could never mention, you know words cannot suffice,” Montero said.

The two says they plan to head back to Miami again Friday night.