Boaters rescued by deputies during Irma - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Boaters rescued by deputies during Irma

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As we continue to recover from Irma's punishment, more stories are emerging of heroism.  Two boaters lost their vessel, but thanks to first responders, still have their lives. 

By the Jensen Beach Causeway, Irma pushed a handful of boats on shore.
But you can see one didn’t make it.

“Obviously knew the storm was coming.  I have TV and GPS out there and all that," said boater Brian Gallagher Tuesday.  He and his girlfriend decided to ride out Irma on board.

Gallagher says he knew he was taking a risk.  In fact, the day before the storm, he had been warned that the Martin County Sheriff’s Office might not be able to get out to him in the event of an emergency.

But as the storm rolled in Sunday, Martin County Sheriff marine deputies still headed out.

“We’re getting those heavy rain squalls coming through," said Detective Matt Fritchie.

“I couldn’t keep up with the water coming in over the front, the back and the side," said Gallagher.

“We’re in the Intracoastal and you have 7-8 foot waves.  They were in bad shape," said Deputy James Holloran.

The deputies maneuvered their boat close to Gallagher’s.

“There’s no space between the waves.  As soon as you drive into one, you drive into another one," said Deputy John Howell.

The couple was saved from their sinking boat.
So why did Gallagher stay?
He says it’s like a homeowner on his roof fighting a wildfire with a garden hose.

"That’s not my weekend toy, it was everything I owned," said Gallagher.

And why did the deputies respond, even after warning him?

“At the end of the day, that’s what our job is.  Make sure they’re safe and that’s what we did," said Deputy Holloran.

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