Two Coast Guard water rescues made within days, one survivor speaks on his experience


(WKRG) — Two Coast Guard water rescues within a matter of days along the Gulf Coast. The first on Independence Day, with a man having a medical emergency on a boat. The second rescue caught on camera as four people stranded in the water after their boat capsized were saved.

47-year-old Michael Bernard says he feels lucky to be alive. Bernard was on a deep sea fishing trip on Sunday from Hudson Marina in Orange Beach. The group was about 20 to 30 miles off the coast when Bernard got dizzy, started having seizures and lost consciousness.

“It was pretty scary,” Bernard said from his hospital bed Thursday. “I’m thankful that the people on the boat did what they did.”

The Coast Guard helicopter crew arrived on scene after the boat crew sprung into action to get closer to shore. They safely hoisted Bernard and transferred him to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola.

“We were about 30 miles out, and I got real hot and real dizzy, and so I sat down on a five-gallon bucket, and the next thing I know I woke up in the hospital on life support,” Bernard said.

Bernard says he didn’t fully regain consciousness until Tuesday. Doctors at Sacred Heart say this medical emergency might have been caused by some complications from a stroke he had a few months back.

The second rescue happened Wednesday night near Destin and was all caught on camera. Footage capturing the rescue shows four people stranded in the water after their boat was capsized. Rescuers used a rope system to pull the stranded boaters to safety.

Hours after his hospital bed interview, Bernard was released from the hospital and is now recovering at home. He says his goal now is to meet those Coast Guard members so he can shake their hand and say thank you for saving his life.

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