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‘That boat went down so quick.’ Boat captain recalls harrowing rescue off Jersey Shore

Joey Cabasso, owner and the captain of Gemini, helped save the lives of four boaters. Cabasso says they just happened to be at the right place at the right time.

Lanette Espy and Jim Murdoch

Aug 7, 2023, 10:25 AM

Updated 318 days ago

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A group of people fishing came across four men treading water off Sea Girt whose boat had rapidly sunk miles offshore on Sunday.
Good Samaritans on board the Gemini from the Brielle Yacht Club, a nearby fishing boat, came to their rescue and pulled all four men out of the water in under three minutes. Video captured the scene of the capsized boat. None of the men were wearing life jackets.
A state police unit brought the four men to shore in Shark River Inlet. News 12 New Jersey was told no one was hurt. There is still no word on what caused their boat to sink.
Joey Cabasso, owner and the captain of Gemini, says his crew just happened to be at the right place at the right time.
“Maybe a couple hundred feet away, I see guys screaming on the back of their boat and waving their arms. I see the back transom of their boat just going down into the water and they're screaming,” Cabasso recalled the harrowing ordeal.
Cabasso, Capt. Chris Davidson and the others had just reached Sea Girt Reef, 3 miles offshore when their plans to catch fluke shifted into a life-or-death rescue operation.
Dramatic video taken on Victor Azrak's phone shows the moment his friends on board the Gemini pulled the first man - who was out of breath and seconds away from going under - onto the vessel.
“I screamed ‘Chris, the boat is going down,’” Cabasso recalled. “We jump into action, grab our life vests. They didn't have any life vests. They were already in the water. It was like a minute later that boat just went down so quick.”
He says, “They were just really treading in the water for their life, and we backed up to them. I saw one guy maybe holding a pillow. He was treading, he was about to go down."
The crew of the Gemini never got the names of the four people rescued.
Cabasso says safety should always be the No. 1 priority on the water. He says boaters should keep their life vest on and make sure their boat has an emergency position indicating system or an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon.


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