"One of them had diabetes, so obviously Fire-Rescue were quite concerned and wanted to find these gentlemen," WPTV helicopter pilot Captain Julie Stevens said.
Stevens and photographer Johann Hoffend were racing to the 730 square mile lake looking for a sign of life.
Two miles off of Belle Glade the helicopter saw the boaters. But the boaters weren't too sure the chopper had seen them.
"I saw a white t-shirt off in the distance a couple of miles from where we were searching and, in the green of the Everglades and brown water of Lake Okeechobee, the white of the t-shirt is what really stuck out," Stevens said. "They were waving very frantically at us. As soon as they saw us they thought we were going to leave them so they definitely wanted us to stick with them."
And WPTV's Chopper Five did, relaying the information to Palm Beach County Fire Rescue.
With temperatures soaring and thousands of alligators below the surface, it was not a moment too soon.
"They were actually standing on their airboat. Apparently it had flipped over and they were using that as a life raft to keep above the water. They were getting to the panic point because it was starting to get very hot out there," Stevens said.
They were picked up by searchers on an air boat, weary and hot, but safe and grateful.
"We got eaten by mosquitoes but we were glad to see the Channel Five helicopter," rescued boater Lanny Haff said.
"We were relieved, it felt like we hit the lottery," said his son Dustin Haff.
The Haff's spent the night swatting mosquitoes and waiting for the sun to come up.
They were getting ready to swim for it when Chopper Five loomed in the horizon.
They say they are fine, and grateful.
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