A tourist was in stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit of Ryder Trauma Center in Miami Wednesday after being rescued by three good Samaritans off of Islamorada the evening before.
Henry Osmer, 61, suffered lacerations on his left leg and chest after being run over by the propeller of his boat, according to Coast Guard Key West spokesman Peter Bermont. His leg was also broken, according to FWC spokesman Bobby Dube.
The rescue occurred just before dark Tuesday evening as Robert Foley, 27, his brother Matt Foley, 22, and Shelby Reno, 20, were heading off of Windley Key into the Atlantic to see the sunset. Before they had gotten far, however, the trio spotted what turned out to be a 17-foot Carolina Skiff doing a serious of unusually abrupt figure eights, and later, circles.
"It was wildly out of control," Foley, an Islamorada resident, said.
The three moved in for a closer look, and that's when they saw Osmer and his partner Deborah Potrok in the water. According to the Coast Guard's Bermont, they had been thrown overboard as they made a sharp right hand turn. Potrok was operating the boat at the time of the incident, according to an FWC report.
After a cautious approach, Robert Foley jumped onto the Carolina Skiff and shut down the engine, he said. Potrok swam to the Foleys' vessel and was able to board under her own power, but Robert had to help Osmer onto the Carolina Skiff.
"His wounds were pretty serious," said Robert, who added that Osmer wasn't gushing blood. "I'm thinking he was already in shock."
Using a shirt, Potrok applied pressure to the wounds while Robert drove the couple toward the Coast Guard Islamorada station on the bayside of Snake Creek. In the meantime, Matt Foley and Reno had alerted the station, which sent a vessel to meet Osmer midway through the channel. He was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center from nearby Founders Park at 8:34 p.m., according to Bermont.
Robert said that rescuing the couple was an automatic response for himself, Matt and Reno when they saw they were in distress.
"I'm hoping the husband is O.K.," he said. "But you just got to do what's right and don't expect anything in return."
Bermont said that boating emergencies are common in the Keys, and that good Samaritans like the Foleys and Reno often play a major role in saving lives.
"We see that a lot down here and it is very encouraging," he said.