Quick distress call and calm advice saves all but one of skipper’s friends onboard

A paraplegic skipper has been hailed a hero after his calm advice and quick distress call helped save the lives of all but one man onboard a pleasure fishing boat.

Thanks to his quick thinking, the men were soon saved by a power yacht on her maiden voyage just five miles away.

But tragically one of the men died in the water before help arrived and could not be resuscitated.

The skipper, Nicholas Masi III, was paralised four years ago in an accident while working as a builder. He has been praised with saving the lives of two of his crew.

“I’m alive because of one of my best friends,” said Daricus Hunter, one of the crew.

The four men were onboard 24ft fishing boat Job Site 2 around five miles off Kennebunkport (pictured above) in Maine, America. They were fishing for bluefin tuna when she began swamping and rolling.

According to the Associated Press, the boat’s anchor line got tangled in the propeller and the battery went dead. She began taking on water, but Masi couldn’t driver her back to safety.

Moments before the boat capsized, the skipper told the men onboard to put on survival suits and issued a distress call with their exact coordinates.

He didn’t have time to put on a survival suit himself, and was plunged into the water wearing a lifejacket. Masi instructed his friends to stay together, stay by the boat and use a cooler to help keep them afloat.

The distress call was heard by a power yacht five miles away. The Lady Erica, built by Sabre Yachts, took a detour to rescue the crew.

It was only when a rope was thrown to the men that they noticed one of the crew, Douglas Isenberg, had become unresponsive. Aaron Crawford, CEO of Sabre Yachts, said he dived into the water when he noticed the man wasn’t responding. Isenberg was pulled out of the water, but attempts to resuscitate him failed.

Isenberg’s last act was to push best friend and skipper Masi towards the power yacht, the skipper said. “I heard him saying, ‘I can’t, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t,'” Masi recalled. “I screamed at him and I said, ‘Douglas, we’re OK. Help is here. Pull yourself together. You’re OK.'”

“I hear they’re calling me a hero, but my best friend is gone,” said Masi.

The cause of Isenberg’s death has not yet been determined, however his friends believe he may have had a heart attack in the water.

Isenberg’s son died just three weeks ago of a head injury caused by a skateboarding accident.

Photo by Tony the Misfit.