Five Wakulla County Fishermen Stranded, Found Safe

They floated for 30 hours before rescue crews spotted them drifting some 40 miles offshore.

All five men from Wakulla County and Leon County are safe at home in the arms of their loved ones, a sharp contrast to the emotions felt in Port Panacea just hours before their boat was found.

Tears of joy flowed down the faces of some 50 family members as word spread. They found them after spending all day and all night on the water. The five fishermen have safely docked in Panacea.

The group of friends left Panacea on a fishing trip Sunday morning but ran into trouble about 40 miles off shore. When the men didn't return Sunday night family members grew worried and a search and rescue began.

There’s a happy ending to this story and Fish and Wildlife officials say all five were very lucky. They say the odds of finding boaters safe after 24 hours are slim.

A few of the fishermen were shaken up by the experience, especially those with less boating experience, but they seemed most frightened by a water spout that popped up Sunday night just a few feet from their boat.

FWC says it was definitely a close call for these guys.