Sunbathers stranded after blow-up boat drifts 3kms from shore (Video)

Sunbathers stranded after blow-up boat drifts 3kms from shore (Video)
Sunbathers stranded after blow-up boat drifts 3kms from shore (Video)

This footage shows a couple rescued after getting stuck two MILES from the beach when their inflatable float got swept out to sea.

Kelsey Jackson, 23, and her boyfriend William Johnson, 23, innocently took to the sea with their brand new blow-up raft.

But strong currents from the stormy weather churning the water the day before whisked the holiday-makers quickly out of their depth.

They ended up trapped for nearly two hours and their family from the land raised the alarm.

They were rescued by an entire fleet including the coastguard, a paddleboarder, local boaters and a jet skier.

Graduate student Kelsey said: “We never in our wildest dreams thought we would get carried out into deep waters and require help.

“It was definitely a learning situation for us.

“Things can change so fast. You never know what the next minute of your life will hold.”

Kelsey was browsing online whilst bored in lectures and daydreaming about her upcoming beach holiday when she purchased the six metre squared float for $270 [£190.50].

She set off with her boyfriend and his family the following month, and with the sunny weather, they all decided to hit Fort Morgan beach near Gulf Shores, Alabama, USA on May 12.

They blew up the ‘Floating Island Lounge Raft’ just after 1pm and Kelsey and William took to the seas.

The University of Alabama student said: “We intended to stay in the shallow area where we could touch and ride the small waves.

“He and I were going to try it out first and then members of his family were going to come jump on the float with us.

“Despite the rain from the previous days, it was such a calm day. There were hardly any waves, and the gulf was very calm. There were no signs of strong currents whatsoever.”

After about ten minutes, Kelsey, from Anniston, Alabama, started to notice something was wrong.

She said: “We were lying down on the float just soaking up the sun assuming we were still in the shallow water where we got on the float.

“There was a cut-out in the middle of the float where you could put your feet in the water. I looked down and noticed the water looked extremely dark and black.

“I made a comment to my boyfriend about it, we sat up, and noticed we were already past the second sand bar in deep water and being carried farther out by the minute.

“His family was laying out on the beach, and they looked so small. We called out and yelled at them, but they could not hear us.”

The two tried to paddle and kick but didn’t make any progress, and continued to float further out to sea.

Kelsey said: “I just couldn’t stop playing out all of the different scenarios in my head of how this situation would end – some good, some not so good.

“My boyfriend’s side of the float was beginning to deflate as we drifted out which was very alarming. We made sure to keep movements to a minimum after that realization.

“We were pretty positive that there were sharks nearby, so I gave my boyfriend a lesson on something I had learned a long time ago: if a shark approaches you, punch it in the nose to get it to go away.”

They discussed jumping off their raft and trying to swim to safety but fortunately decided against it due to worries about sharks and not being able to swim against a strong current.

The family left on the beach eventually noticed the couple splashing around and called 911 for Fort Morgan Fire and Rescue.

A paddleboarder went out first to try and tug them in but had to leave them after the float started pulling her further out too.

The rescue helicopter circled the marooned pair whilst another boat approached who had heard the distress call on the radio and came to see if they could help.

Kelsey and Williams were pulled onto their boat just as five others arrived – including a state trooper, coast guard and a jet skier.

The party escorted them safely to shore where they greeted their family.

Kelsey said: “There are no words to describe how relieved and thankful we were.

“We were so grateful for each and every person and organization who went out of their way to get us back to land safely.

“It really is such a great reminder of all of the amazing, selfless people there are in this world.

“We were also just in shock at how quickly things got bad.

“I hate that it took such a crazy experience and required inconveniencing so many people to learn what we did, but I will say that we will not ever make a mistake like that again.

“If we can help educate others on our experience and prevent accidents or from occurring, then that is the best thing that can come from this.

“You never know what life is going to throw at you next, and we are never promised another day on this Earth.”

Kelsey posted a TikTok video on May 16 explaining what happened which went viral, racking up over 6,000 view and comments.

Comments ranged from relief that the two were safe to criticising them for taking an inflatable in the sea when it is prohibited on many beaches.

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