98ºF

Recently engaged couple rescued after losing boat in Florida Keys

Winds pushed vessel away while pair were swimming, authorities said

photo

MONROE COUNTY, Fla. – A recently engaged couple were rescued Thursday after they became stranded in the waters off the coast of the Florida Keys.

Kimberly Cantoli, 47, and Mohamed Dahman, 41, rented a boat from a local marina and decided to go for a swim while out on the water. But winds caused the boat to drift away faster than they could swim, stranding the pair in the Florida Bay, said Robert Dube, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The rental company became concerned after discovering the boat's engine was off and the vessel was adrift for more than an hour, Dube said. When the boat didn't return as scheduled at 5 p.m., the company alerted the FWC and the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard deployed an aircraft to assist in the search. An FWC boat found Cantoli after an hour of searching about 2 miles away from her boat, Dube said.

The Coast Guard aircraft spotted Dahman, who was wearing a life jacket, about a half-mile away from Cantoli. The FWC crew then picked up an extremely fatigued Dahman.

Dahman and Cantoli were taken back to the shore and treated by paramedics for exposure and onset hypothermia.

The paramedics said Dahman was fortunate that rescuers arrived when they did because he may not have lasted another 15 to 20 minutes on the water, Dube said.