Naples couple on second date rescued from sinking boat

Published: Updated:

NAPLES, Fla. — A couple on their second date nearly lost their lives when their boat capsized on the way home from Fort Myers Beach, but help from two people fishing nearby allowed them to return to safety.

All it took was 3-foot waves for the small boat that Mike Rueter and Ely Garcia were in to start sinking.

“One wave added so much weight to the boat that it just collapsed the boat immediately,” Rueter said. “And immediately when the boat fell in, we screeched. We were like, ‘Oh, oh my God!'”

Garcia grabbed their backpack with their cellphones and jumped in the water to grab their lifejackets, which were floating away. When she looked up, the current was taking her out to sea, and the lifejackets were out of reach.

“I didn’t know how much longer I was going to stay afloat with the backpack on,” Garcia said.

Rueter clung to the half-submerged boat. He saw another boat nearby and started yelling for help.

“They were screaming for help, so we rushed over to them as quickly as possible,” said Dereck Castro, one of the rescuers. “We were the only boat that was out there for miles, so I think if we weren’t there at that moment, they would have been a little out of luck.”

Castro and another man took the couple back to shore.

“They definitely saved our lives,” Rueter said.

They were even able to recover the boat, which only needs a new motor to get back on the water. The couple also expressed thanks for a driver they flagged down who was able to take them back into town.


Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.