ST. LUCIE COUNTY — After hours of searching the waters miles east of Hutchinson Island, the two scuba divers who went missing Saturday night were found safe and sound.
The divers, Mason Matthews and Nick Allen, went missing about 11 miles off the coast of Hutchinson Island around 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and were found about four hours later swimming toward land by the Fort Pierce Coast Guard.
The call everyone was hoping for came in around 8:30 p.m.
"They are in good condition. They're just cramped up a little bit and we'll get them on board now," radioed a rescue crew member to the Fort Pierce Coast Guard station.
The hours of searching, waiting and wondering came to an end with the call the divers' families were praying to hear.
An hour later, Matthews and Allen walked off a rescue boat and into the arms of their loved ones.
Both were taken to ambulances to be checked by medics, all the while family members eagerly stood by waiting to hear what happened.
According to Matthews, he and his dive partner Allen were floating on the surface. Matthews said he thinks the boat they dived off of drifted away. When the two divers surfaced to find the boat's missing, they dumped their gear and head for shore.
"I didn't think about sharks. We actually laughed the whole time," said Matthews.
The experience was no laughing matter for Mason's sister, Carrie, who at times thought the
worst. "I'll be honest with you, I thought he was going to die. Losing your brother would be the worst entire moment of my life. I broke down, punched stuff. You get so emotional. It's just so intense thinking that he's gone."
The hours of searching by the Coast Guard concluded with a happy heading and a story the rescued divers are sure to never forget.
"I can't wait to tell people. I can't wait to tell my kids, when that happens," said Matthews.
Matthews said for now, all he wanted to do is be with his family and head to the nearest steakhouse to eat dinner.
The other victim, Nick Allen, was taken away in an ambulance to the hospital for further examination. His family said Saturday was his prom night and they thought he still might try to make it to the dance.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
One person will win a three-year lease on a 2013 Honda Civic Lx Sedan automatic.
Click to see the latest mugshots, plus this week's wanted fugitives.
This feature packed upgrade brings you faster performance, easier navigation, and stunning improvements to photos, video and readability.
Latest Local News Stories