ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. - A family from Royal Palm Beach is thankful they were rescued after spending twenty hours bobbing in the Atlantic Ocean. At the same time, they're coping with the loss of Zaida Gonzalez, 79, of Hialeah.
"My dad and my aunt aren't speaking much about it," said Linnettee Gonzalez, Zaida's granddaughter. "They're just really keeping to themselves. You can tell that they're sad."
Gonzalez stayed at home in Royal Palm Beach while eight people in all - including her grandmother, her father and mother, Jorge and Tomasa, and 4-year-old Fabiana Lima - headed to Long Key for a boat outing.
"It was going to be a bad weekend. The six to eight foot waves and stuff. [I said], 'I'm not going, it's going to be bad out there,'" said Linnettee.
Saturday morning she spoke to her family by phone. They were already out on the boat and agreed they needed to head for port because of choppy seas.
As they were returning, a wave capsized their boat, sending them into the Atlantic. For 20 hours, three of the boaters held on to the bobbing hull. Four, including the child, were wearing life jackets and floated away. They held on to each other.
"There's no words to describe just to feel that they had to survive and to get to land somehow," said Linnettee.
Their vessel capsized around noon on Saturday, but the family wasn't found until around 8 a.m. on Sunday. They were saved by two fisherman who happened to be nearby and called the Coast Guard.
"They took the little girl off the boat first and you know she was crying, she was pretty hysterical. They took her mom off next, which was really kind of dazed and confused," said David Jensen.
Seven survived, but Linnette believes that her grandmother, Zaida Gonzalez, drowned.
She was not wearing a life jacket, and one report says she died in her son's arms as he tried to keep her head above water.
"I'm sad," said Linnettee.
Gonzalez's body has not yet been found, although authorities are searching.
The family has been released from the hospital, and are resting at the home they own in the Keys.
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