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Fisherman thrown overboard treads water for 10 hours, rescued in intracoastal waterway

By Shelby Myers

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    MOBILE, Alabama (WALA) — Saturday night, Kevin Olmstead was rescued by boat after 10 hours of treading water in the middle of the Mississippi Sound.

Olmstead said it started after a morning of fishing. He was packing up to leave Dauphin Island’s West End Saturday around 10am. He decided to grab his life jacket because the water was getting choppy.

Olmstead said he thought he put his boat in neutral so he undid the kill switch and was turning around to reach for his life jacket when the rough water tipped him out of his boat.

Before he knew it, the boat was out of his reach and still in drive.

Olmstead was in the middle of the Mississippi Sound with no life jacket. He said he instantly went into survival mode.

He took off his shirt, tied up the sleeves to create some air bubbles for a tiny bit of buoyancy.

Then he said he started treading water against the current for nearly 10 hours.

His eyes were focused on a nearby pylon in the intracoastal waterway, he said.

Once he made it there, he said hyperthermia was setting in. His hands and legs were convulsing but he was determined to hang on for his wife and children!

Finally, after about 20 minutes of hanging on the pylon and just before the sun set, one of his fishing buddies who had joined in with rescue crews spotted him and brought him home.

Olmstead was air lifted to the hospital for hyperthermia, but is okay.

He said he’s so thankful for the rescue crews who found him.

He also wanted to remind all boaters to make sure the boat is in neutral before getting out of the drivers seat and always have a life jacket on or where you can easily grab it.

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