VIDEO: 13 people rescued after pontoon boat capsizes in Gulf of Mexico near Anclote Key

Posted at 9:43 AM, Apr 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-16 09:53:24-04

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — (WFLA/CNN) - Dramatic rescue video shows what 13 people endured Sunday when their pontoon boat capsized as they were heading out for a fun day on Anclote Key in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Pasco County Sheriff's office said it was a day where boaters should have listened to the small craft advisory that was issued.

"It was probably about 25 mph winds. That specific area was about 3 feet waves. We took a beating just trying to get to the scene," says Cpl. Russ Meissner who was one of the sheriff officials tasked with the rescue.

Several people who ended up in the water didn't even have life jackets. Many admit they don't know how to swim, which created even more panic on the water.

"We had one guy in the water holding onto a life jacket. We had another person who didn't have the life jacket on correctly," says Meissner.

"Even us who could swim, it was so hard. I was treading water for 20 minutes," says Loryn Decker who was on board the boat when it started to sink.

"Luckily my dad saved me and dragged me to the boat, and I got one of the seat cushions to hold me up. I thought I was going to drown," said Allona Haynes, who was on board.

Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco, while thankful he's talking about a rescue and not recovery mission, wants everyone to use this as a learning lesson as we head into Summer.

"Wear your vests. Bring your life vests. Make sure you have enough for everyone. Listen to the people on board giving you directions. If you are the captain, you are responsible for everyone on board," says Nocco.

Everyone was rescued and is OK.