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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A family four, pulled from the water after they were forced to abandon their boat, reunited with the Coast Guard Crews who saved their lives.

Geoff Varell, with his boys in tow, visited the Coast Guard Air Station in Opa-locka on Friday.

His 7-year-old son, Grayden, said they were there to say thank you.

On May 28th, the Coast Guard 7th District Command Center received a distress signal from a personal locating beacon on the family’s boat around 10:30 a.m.

They immediately dispatched an Ocean Sentry airplane crew from Air Station Miami to check it out. The located an abandoned vessel approximately two hours later. The crew then expanded their search and shortly after, found the four boaters in the water about 25 miles east of Port Canaveral.

All of the boaters were wearing life jackets and none appeared to be injured.

The search plane contacted a search crew from Coast Guard Station Port Canaveral and directed a response boat which picked up the family and brought them back to shore.

Varell said it’s still hard to think about what could have happened.

“My concern was for my youngest boy… he was shivering and his lips were turning blue,” he said.

Pilot Lt. Greg Snow was part of the air crew that spotted them water.

“I mean we’re in the plane, we’re cheering, we’re excited… because we know there’s family, there’s loved ones that wanna find these folks,” Snow said. “The minute you get them on board and they’re safe it makes it all worth it.”

Adrift at sea for 2 ½ hours, Varell said the first time he saw them it was “overwhelming joy, overwhelming joy.”

This time it’s gratitude and respect.

“The amount of professionalism, I guess, for when they’re, I guess, called to duty is unbelievable,” he said.


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