Georgetown water rescue saves 8 fishermen

GEORGETOWN CO., S.C. (WCIV) -- Eight people were rescued Sunday morning in Georgetown County after a boat capsized three miles off the coast of Murrell's Inlet. Survivors say a fishing trip went awry when their boat starting taking on water. Gerald Aldridge, Ben Graham, and six others were on the boat when water kept spilling in too fast to get it out.

"I began to notice that we were taking on water and I began to bail the water out," survivor Gerald Aldridge told WPDE. "The engines had submerged and we couldn't start the boat so we just began to make preparations to go overboard."

Aldridge said it all happened in just a matter of minutes as the fishermen tried to grab as many life jackets as they could before going overboard.

"Once the boat went underwater, I went underwater and we saw everybody pop up and we just started counting heads to make sure everybody was o.k. That's what I started doing just to make sure we had all," said survivor Ben Graham.

All eight men were forced to tread water for nearly an hour on the open water with waves constantly crashing over them.

"I just told those guys to stay calm, I didn't know what else to do," Graham said. "The waves were 8 to 10 feet and swimming just wasn't going to work, even with life jackets on, you really couldn't swim so we all latched together so that we were a bigger marker for somebody to find us."

Luckily, some people fishing nearby eventually found the men in distress and picked them out of the water. All eight men survived the incident and made it safely back to shore. One member of the group was taken to the hospital after taking on too much water."Very happy everybody's o.k. That was the main thing is we're all family so you know if you lose one, you've pretty much lost everybody," Graham said.No word yet on what caused the boat to sink.