3 rescued when waterspout forms off New Jersey coast

Monday, July 24, 2017
3 rescued when waterspout forms off NJ coast
3 rescued when waterspout forms off NJ coast. Nora Muchanic reports during Action News at 4pm on July 24, 2017.

FORTESCUE, N.J. (WPVI) -- Three people had to be rescued when a waterspout came within ten feet of their canoe in the waters off Cumberland County, New Jersey.

The waterspout formed around 4 p.m. Sunday on the Delaware Bay near Fortescue.

"It was really loud. The grass was just flat from how fast the wind was blowing," said Roxanne Yates of Franklinville.

She was on that canoe with her daughter and boyfriend when they saw the waterspout barreling right toward them.

"When this spinny thingy, whatever it's called, when it started spinning I started crying because he kept getting closer and closer," said her daughter, Jaidyn Osuna.

Pictured: Jaidyn Osuna after her rescue.

"It was several hundred feet high all the way up in the clouds, five feet in diameter on the ground," said Adam Sweeney.

Roxanne and Jaidyn jumped out of the canoe and laid in the mud and marsh, certain it was coming straight at them.

"It was terrifying, it was. I feared for our lives," Roxanne said.

Then when it was just 20 feet away, the waterspout turned.

"It was coming straight toward us, and then it went the other way," she said.

Stranded by low tide and unable to get a cellular connection, Roxanne hit the emergency button on her phone.

"They call it 'pinging the caller' through their cell phone and it's able to give us a GPS coordinate and they even sent us a little map where they suspect they were last time they called," said Chief Cliff Higbee of Downe Township Fire and Rescue.

Rescuers headed to the area and were able to spot them because they hoisted a lifeguard jacket on top of a paddle and held it in the air.

"It was a very good idea they did, because when tide's low you can't see nothing and they can't see where they are actually at," said Chief James Wolf of Dividing Creek Fire Company.

Believe it or not, it was Jaidyn's first venture out on a canoe, but it was a trip she will never forget.

"It was a terrifying day, and it was the scariest day of my life," she said.

Fire crews helped the boaters make their way to safety.

The spout was captured on video by Action News viewers Mike and Buck Rothman on board their boat the Bonanza II.

A waterspout is described by AccuWeather as an "almost transparent funnel cloud stretching from the water and spiraling towards the clouds."

No injuries or damage was reported.


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