If Stuart Bee wasn’t already thankful this Thanksgiving, he’s sure to be now.
The 62-year-old man was rescued from the bow of his capsized boat early Sunday morning after a passing ship found the vessel bobbing roughly 86 miles off Florida’s east coast a day after Bee was reported missing, authorities said.
Bee had set out in his 32-foot boat early Friday evening from Port Canaveral but experienced mechanical issues the following day that disabled his boat and left him adrift, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement.
It was while Bee was sleeping sometime after midnight on Sunday that authorities said he was abruptly woken up by water rushing into the cabin, forcing him out one of the boat’s hatches. He clung to the tip of the bow, where he was finally rescued just after sunrise when the crew on a container ship called Angeles saw him waving his shirt in the air.
Photos posted to Facebook show Bee swimming to a lifesaver and then climbing up Angeles’ ladder. He appeared to be soaked to the bone.
Leisa Bee, who identified Stuart Bee as her uncle, reacted with great emotion to the photos of his rescue in a message to HuffPost on Monday.
“I can’t stop crying,” she said. Though Bee’s family longs to see him again, she said he is not expected to return to dry land until Tuesday.
“He is still on the cargo ship but I’m told he’s in good spirits,” she said. “I cannot wait to see him on dry land.”
Angeles departed Honduras on Friday and is scheduled to arrive in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday, according to ship-tracking website MarineTraffic.
Leisa Bee said that her uncle reportedly asked the U.S. Coast Guard not to retrieve him from Angeles, reasoning that he would just ride the container ship back to U.S. soil.
“If you knew my Uncle you would probably expect nothing less than for him to say that. I am shaking my head quite a lot this morning at this situation,” she wrote in a Facebook post Sunday.
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