On the night of Saturday, July 20, 2013, on his way back home after an evening out on his boat, Mike Healy found something he never expected. For three others in the bay, they found their hero.
Around 10:30 in the evening, Mike and his neighbor were heading back home after hanging out at Hula Bay (Gandy Bridge). They had just passed the Courtney Campbell Bridge at a high speed when Mike glimpsed something out of the corner of his eye. Fortunately, he decided to turn around to see what it was.
As they slowly approached the floating object, they realized that it was a capsized john boat with two men holding on to either end. Mike and his neighbor automatically offered to help the stranded boaters into Mike’s boat, but the men said “no, get her first”. At first, they could not spot any other victims in the water. It was a dark night with very little moon light. The men had to yell and use the direction of her voice and a flashlight to find her. They continued yelling back and forth as they slowly idled to her location. She was treading water several hundred yards away with no flotation device.
After assisting the woman onto the boat, they returned to the overturned john boat and rescued the two men. Once they had all three people safely in the boat they made sure they were uninjured and then slowly pulled their submerged boat to the Courtney Campbell boat ramp.
The boaters were reportedly on their way out to a fishing spot when their boat capsized after the weight shifted. They said that they had been in the water for about a half an hour when Mike discovered them. None of them were wearing a life jacket nor had a flotation device, and the current was beginning to push them back into the middle of the upper bay. Had Mike and his friend not found them when they did, the ending could have been dramatically different. They may not have been discovered until daylight, or until it was too late, and who knows how much longer the woman could have continued treading water?
They may not refer to themselves as such, but Mike and his friend are definitely heroes, especially to three stranded boaters whose outcome could have had a much different ending.