A man swam for five hours off of the Maryland coast to reach help for his family after their boat capsized in a storm Tuesday night. After climbing ashore, John Franklin Riggs found a phone and called 911, sending rescuers to the 16-foot Carolina skiff that had capsized near Deal Island, on the Eastern Shore.
“He came to the right house,” Angela Byrd told the Daily Times, who found the 46-year-old swimmer outside, soaking wet, and barefoot.
“He said, `I’ve been swimming since sundown; I need help,’” she told the Daily Times.
In addition to Riggs, four family members were aboard the vessel when it capsized, including a 3-year-old boy, a 70-year-old retired commercial waterman, and a 9-year-old girl.
“I’ve never been so happy to see search boats in my life,” Emily Horn, 9, told CBS News. “It took him five hours to swim ashore. He had to stop and grab a crab pot buoy and rest, then swim. We clinged to the side of the boat and got stung by sea nettles in the dark.”