BROOKSVILLE - The U.S. Coast Guard rescued two men early this morning who spent almost 12 hours in the Gulf of Mexico due to an apparent jet ski malfunction.
Daladier Faust, 22, and Jacob Crooms, 22, were recovered around 6:30 a.m. by Coast Guard helicopter about four miles west of Hernando Beach, near the mouth of the Weeki Wachee channel. They were safely lifted from their jet ski and transported to the Coast Guard station in Clearwater, where they are awaiting medical evaluation, according to a news release.
Denise Moloney, the sheriff's public information officer, said the men started out on a large one-man jet ski around 6:30 p.m. Sunday from a private dock in Pine Island and one of them told his girlfriend they would be back in a couple hours. The girlfriend said if they had not returned in four hours, she would call the sheriff's office.
They did not have lights, flares, radio or a cell phone but did have life jackets and a whistle, the Coast Guard said.
After the expired time, the sheriff's office got the emergency call and, together with the Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, began a search in the Gulf around 10:45 p.m.
The hunt was suspended at 4 a.m. after the fog rolled in and limited visibility, Moloney said.
The search was resumed after conditions cleared and, just after dawn, the Coast Guard saw the two men and pulled them from the water.