Lobsterman survives 9 hours lost at sea

Lobsterman survives 9 hours lost at sea

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(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ross Ruddell) (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ross Ruddell)
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

A commercial lobsterman survived more than nine hours in the Atlantic Ocean after falling overboard from a boat.

The Coast Guard John Aldridge, a crew member of the 44-foot lobster vessel Anna Mary was last seen aboard the boat during his watch relief at 9 p.m., Tuesday, while the vessel was underway off Montauk, N.Y.

A report of the missing fisherman was made by the crew at approximately 6:30 a.m., Wednesday.

Rescue crews from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York coordinated to develop and conduct a search pattern that covered more than 780 square miles (more than half the size of the state of Rhode Island).

Crews established the search area based on the assumption Aldridge has fallen overboard without a life jacket sometime after 9 p.m., Tuesday, but before 4:30 a.m., Wednesday.

Eight hours after the initial report, a Coast Guard helicopter located Aldridge 36 nautical miles south of Montauk.

The air crew dropped a rescue swimmer into the water to help hoist Aldridge to safety.

"This ending had a lot of people shaking hands and smiling," said Lt. Joe Klinker, First Coast Guard District public affairs officer. "Reports of persons in the water often mean a difficult search is ahead. To hear the call that he was found and rescued makes it a proud day for those Coast Guard crews."

Aldridge, who wasn't wearing a life jacket, told the helicopter crew he used his rubber boots as flotation devices throughout the ordeal.

He was being treated for dehydration at a Cape Cod hospital on Thursday.

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