Five fishermen, including a pair of local California men known for appearing on the reality TV series, “The Bachelorette,” are lucky to be alive after their boat sank Monday off San Diego. The anglers were rescued after nearly 4 hours in the water by local tuna fishermen who happened to locate the shipwrecked men.
Aaron Schwartzman, a firefighter, and Brayden Bowers, a travel nurse, reportedly met while filming the 20th season of “The Bachelorette,” and they are both listed as contestants on the ninth season of “Bachelor in Paradise,” which is scheduled to air later this month. Schwartzman decided to take Bowers and three of their buddies out on the “boat of his dreams” that he had recently purchased, according to an interview aired by San Diego’s KSWB-TV Fox-5. The five of them were fishing more than a dozen miles off the coast of Southern California when their fishing trip suddenly turned into a survival situation.
“My buddy Gavin got his line stuck on the engine propeller,” Bowers told the news station. “So Aaron just went to the back of the boat to lift the engine up and try and untangle it. All of a sudden, as soon as he stands on the swim deck, the boat literally just sunk.”
In under 60 seconds the boat had gone under, according to the survivors, and the five men went into the Pacific, bobbing in heavy swells.
“You think of the next steps, but what are the next steps when you’re 15 miles in the ocean in a wind swell?” said Schwartzman. “We weren’t able to send a distress signal at all. The only thing you have out there is hope, hope that somebody finds you, hope that a helicopter flies over.”
Fortunately, the group of swimmers were military, dispatch, and medical professionals—all trained for emergencies. Bowers said the five men locked arms and started kicking and padding toward shore.
It had been about 3.5 hours since their ship sank when two tuna fisherman, xand his cousin TJ, spotted a flash in the water. “More times than not we’d just kind of bypass it, but for whatever reason we decided to take a look and see if it was holding fish,” TJ told Fox-5 TV.
“We were looking for yellowfin tuna, then found a school of men,” Keeran, who rescued the struggling swimmers.
“It never ever occurs to you as a rescuer that you might need rescuing,” Bowers said. “But when you do, it’s good to know that people will step up the way you would.”
Apart from the lost fishing boat, the ordeal turned out as well as it could have, with no one injured or requiring medical attention.
“We don’t consider ourselves heroes; we’re doing whatever any other fisherman would consider doing,” Keeran said. “I’m just so grateful by the grace of God, we actually did see something reflective, just the things that had to add up just to get to them.
Read the full story over on KSWB-TV.