HERNANDO BEACH — A married couple who spent 24 hours bobbing in the Gulf of Mexico this weekend was rescued by two teenage brothers on a family outing Sunday afternoon.
Patrick N. Pinder, 18, and Garrett Pinder, 17, said they were scuba diving and spear fishing Sunday afternoon with their dad when they noticed a man waving an inflatable flotation device in the distance.
While their dad was still underwater, the teens untied his 24-foot Everglades boat from the buoy they had moored to and headed over to investigate.
They found Timothy and Paula Allen of Howey-in-the-Hills in the water about 20 miles west of Hernando Beach.
They helped Paula Allen out of her scuba gear and hoisted her into the boat.
" 'You guys just saved our lives' were the first words out of her mouth," Garrett Pinder said. "My brother and I had to lift her into the boat and she just collapsed."
The woman said she had high blood pressure and complained of a migraine headache and dehydration, said the brothers, who attend Gulf High School in New Port Richey.
Then they picked up Timothy Allen and headed back to the buoy to pick up their dad, Patrick R. Pinder, who called the Coast Guard.
The Pinders took the couple to a Hernando County boat ramp, where paramedics were waiting.
The Allens said that "they had been unable to swim back to their 28-foot boat, the Wehoo, due to a strong current following a dive at 3 p.m. Saturday, and began to drift away," according to a statement released by the Coast Guard.
"Mr. and Mrs. Allen were incredibly lucky to have been found by the good Samaritan(s) today," said Lt. Miguel Torrez, a search-and-rescue coordinator at Coast Guard St. Petersburg.
"The Coast Guard cannot stress enough the importance of filing a float plan with a family member or a friend and having the proper safety equipment when boaters and divers go out on the water."
The Allens were taken to Oak Hill Hospital. Their conditions were unavailable late Sunday.
The Pinders said they were happy to be in the right place at the right time.
"It's a really good feeling helping someone in dire need," Patrick Pinder said.
Rita Farlow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4157.