Man rescued after being stranded for 4 hours at sea

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Dramatic video from a Coast Guard helicopter shows the rescue of a man from the Atlantic Ocean. (WPVI)

Dramatic video from a Coast Guard helicopter shows a 45-year-old man from Williamstown, New Jersey being hoisted up from the Atlantic Ocean.

That's where he had just spent four hours trying to stay alive.

Damian Sexton was not wearing a life jacket Saturday night when he was swept overboard from his boat, the Sea Robin, 40 miles from Cape May.

"I'm screaming, 'I'm here! I'm here!' The waves were so bad. Lightning bolts are striking right next to me."

There was only one other person aboard. The other person on board, a friend, did not know how to at first override the craft's autopilot, but he did manage to make a critical Mayday call.

Sexton went into survival mode and started swimming for the Sea Robin, but it is miles away before it finally slows and stops.

He says, "I'm thinking that I could die, yes. It would be very easy for me to die if I don't give 110 percent."

The Mayday call brings a boat and chopper from the Coast Guard.

Time is critical.

Coast Guard Pilot Lt. Tamara Whalen explains, "By the time we actually got out there we knew he had been out in the water for a significant amount of time, and that his chances of survival were just decreasing."

Amazingly, Sexton was found and made it to the Sea Robin after miles of swimming. But hyperthermia is a concern, so the Coast Guard lifted him from his deck.

Out of the hospital and at home with his wife and kids, he explains what kept him swimming for four hours.

"Keep going. I don't want to leave my kids or my wife without a husband and father," Sexton said.

Asked today why he was not wearing a lifejacket, Sexton said, "Because I am an idiot. I will never do that again."

It was a close call, and a lessoned learned. Sexton says his next order of business is to buy state of the life vests with flashing lights and satellite tracking devices... and use them.

Related Topics:
n.j. newscoast guardwater rescueCape May
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