Four people rescued from boat in bad weather by good Samaritan

GALVESTON (KTRK) -- A good Samaritan rescued four fishermen 100 miles off the coast of Galveston Friday afternoon.

They tell us they were heading back in with a boatload of fish around noon when a swell filled the boat up and then it rolled over. Lucky for them, they were able to get a satellite signal to send a distress call through a phone.

"Honestly, I thought I was going to die to be honest with you," Derrick Greene said. "We're rushing to put life jackets on as this boat is rolling on us. Once we're in the water, we're trying to get the life raft inflated. It's not inflating."

"It was stuck. We were just dead in the water," adds Eric Gonzalez. "I was pulling the string as hard as I could and eventually I put my feet on top of the raft and pulled as hard as I could and it inflated."

Greene runs In the Zone Fishing Charters. He and Gonzalez were part of a four man fishing crew about 100 miles off the coast when the boat they were in took on water and rolled over. They were able to use a GPS device that connects to the cellphone to send out a satellite distress signal.

"If they would've been out that far just with the life raft and not having the satellite communications, there's no telling how long it would be until we figured out they were missing, and after that point we'd have no idea where to start searching," says Petty Officer Andy Kendrick with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Kendrick says weather kept them from getting their aircraft to them, and their cutter was not going to get to them until 3 p.m. So they put out the call for any nearby boats to go save the four men.

The boat that cut through the tough weather to rescue them was "The Relentless." And the captain is a friend.

"He pulled me into the boat by my pants and I instantly grabbed hold of him. I could've kissed him in that second," Greene says.

That good Samaritan brought them back to the Galveston Yacht Basin where we caught up with them ... in good spirits.

"Every day is an adventure," Gonzalez explains. "You get to go fishing, have a good time, make some money."

And after nearly dying on this latest adventure, tomorrow's a new day.

"I got a charter tomorrow," says Greene. "I'm going right back to work. I'm going right back to work tomorrow. Bills don't stop, and money's gotta keep coming."

"Hopefully no more boats flip over on us. That's not fun at all," adds Gonzalez.

All four of the men walked away with no injuries. null
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