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St. Lucie County first responders rescue couple, pets after boat breaks free during Hurricane Nicole

'Somebody was looking out for us,' David Snow says
David White, wife rescued from boat during Hurricane Nicole
Posted at 5:45 PM, Nov 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-10 18:33:14-05

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. — First responders had a busy night as Hurricane Nicole battered the Treasure Coast.

Perhaps no situation was more precarious than the one that occurred in the Indian River Lagoon.

David Snow's boat, the Mer Cheval, which is French for Sea Horse, took an unexpected and scary gallop through the water.

Snow and his wife were aboard the vessel while it was anchored near the North Causeway Bridge in Fort Pierce as the eyewall of Nicole approached.

Mer Cheval, boat comes loose, hits causeway during Hurricane Nicole
The Mer Cheval was damaged after it broke free during the hurricane, becoming lodged under the North Causeway Bridge.

"I heard a noise, and I looked out the porthole, and we were spinning," Snow said. "I knew we had broken loose, and I barely had time to tell her to brace herself."

The boat became lodged under the causeway. But as first responders tried to rescue the couple, the wind and current forced the boat underneath it.

"It was so intense it just literally shoved us underneath to the other side of the bridge and sheared everything off the deck," Snow said.

As deputies and fire crews went to follow the boat, St. Lucie County firefighters Lt. Shane Kozac and firefighter Doug Wile met it from the south.

Lt. Shane Kozac, St. Lucie County Fire District
Lt. Shane Kozac outlines the challenges he and firefighter Doug Wile faced during the rescue of the couple.

"Our biggest challenge was is our vessel and their vessel from deck to deck was about a 5-foot difference," Kozac said. "We had to basically help to lower her down into ours."

The couple was both rescued safely, but the story doesn't end there. In fact, there was a second rescue.

Snow was reunited Thursday with his rescue cat Gwendolyn, and his rescue dog Lucy, who were still onboard the vessel.

"Our pets are just like our kids, so they're very special to us," Snow said.

David Snow reunited with his dog, Lucy
David Snow was reunited with his dog, Lucy, after he and his wife were rescued the night before.

The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office sent a boat out to get the animals of Snow's vessel.

Snow, a retired state trooper, had nothing but praise for his fellow first responders. He was amazed that he was still alive and his boat was still afloat.

"I can't explain it," Snow said. "God, somebody, nature, somebody was looking out for us."

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