Norfolk County

Massachusetts couple witnesses daring rescue at sea

SHARON, Mass. — A Massachusetts couple on a cruise in the Caribbean returned home with a tale of high seas they surely won’t ever forget after witnessing a daring rescue in the middle of the ocean.

Heather Baker and Erika Apicella were leaving the pool area and getting ready for dinner on the last night of their cruise when the Celebrity Apex went into man overboard protocols. “I thought there’s no way we’re going to be able to see them and I saw them. There they were,” Heather said.

Cell phone video Heather and Erika shot show three men in a tiny inflatable raft floating in the middle of the ocean. They were spotted as the shipped sailed passed Cuba on its way to Ft. Lauderdale Friday evening. The couple immediately alerted the bridge. “To see the raft and to see the swells they were travelling over was really breathtaking and I thought if we hadn’t found them they would die,” Heather said.

The small raft was drifting aimlessly in the rough seas and taking on a significant amount water each time a wave hit it. As they got closer, Heather and Erika could see there wasn’t anything in the raft. No food, water, lifejackets or even oars. The men were using their hands to paddle towards the ship. They struggled to get onboard, but eventually each climbed a ladder to safety. “It boggles your mind to think because it’s like a speck of dust right in this enormous ocean, so I can’t believe it. It was obviously meant to be. They were found because it was almost impossible. It just boggles my mind because the ocean is so big and they were so little,” Heather said.

Shortly after the rescue an announcement was made that it was three Cuban nationals and they were checked out by medical staff and fed. According to protocol, they would’ve been sent back to Cuba since they were picked up in international waters.

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