CARTERET COUNTY - A fishing trip came to an abrupt end over the weekend, when the crew's boat sank off the Beaufort Inlet. On Monday, one of the survivors shared his experience.
"I'm 42 years old and that's the most scared I've ever been in my life," said William Blandford, of Greenville, who was one of the two people on the boat when it sank. "I'm not afraid to admit that I even cried a little bit."
Blandford's 30-foot fishing boat began to sink just before 9 a.m. Saturday, at about 18 miles offshore, according to Tow Boat U.S. Captain Lee Sykes. Blandford believed there was a leak in the air condition line under his vessel.
Tow Boat U.S. and the Coast Guard responded, while Blandford and his fellow crew member were waist-deep in water.
"They proceeded to try to get the water out of the boat. But at that point, it was too far gone, Blandford said. "The boat went on its side, [so] we hitched out of the boat, got on the Coast Guard boat."
Blandford and his fellow crew member were not injured. But a Coast Guardsman fell into the water and got tangled in equipment, Sykes said. Crews were able to save him too.
On Monday afternoon, the boat was brought to Coral Bay Marina in Morehead City, where Blandford was waiting. He said he's just glad everyone made it back safely.
"[It's a] bad day when you know you lost everything. But I'm lucky to be here," said Blandford. "When you're out there by yourself, your boat's sinking, you don't really think you're going to make it back."