High Surf Advisory issued January 26 at 3:34AM EST expiring January 27 at 7:00AM EST in effect for: Pinellas
The six-member crew from Tarpon Springs-based company Aqua Quest International has been freed from a Honduras jail.
Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) said his office received confirmation on Thursday afternoon.
"The case against them was dismissed, and rightfully so," Bilirakis said in a statement. "They traveled to Honduras to help people, and were wrongfully incarcerated in deplorable conditions. Their release, while long overdue, is a relief to all, especially their families and friends. These men deserve their freedom, and now, thankfully, they can return immediately to the waiting arms of their loved ones. I look forward to celebrating with them in Tarpon Springs!”
The crew was doing work in Honduras to help train lobster divers.
Shortly after the crew arrived May 5, they were taken into custody on a weapons violation. Honduras officials claimed the crew didn't disclose the weapons they were carrying.
"I talked to the Honduran ambassador, and I said, 'You know how bad this looks for your country,'" Bilirakis said.
According to Bilirakis' office, Capt. Bob Mayne called his brother, Stephen, from Honduras to tell him they were given their guns back and are currently on a boat heading back to the States.
In a phone interview from Wyoming, Stephen Mayne said, "I couldn't have imagined it would take this long, but we're grateful the day has arrived."
Filmmaker Michael McCabe was also on board during the ordeal, but he tells ABC Action News that officials let him go after being held for eight days.
A film trailer for a documentary on Aqua Quest is posted on his website. It includes shots of the crew members who were being held.
The six-member crew included Capt. Bob Mayne Jr., Michael Mayne Sr., Nick Cook, Devon Butler, Kelly Garrett and Steve Matanich.
Matanich's fiancee, Sarah Montgomery, and sister, Amy Ivey, spoke to us shortly after they learned the news.
"It's exciting, very exciting," Montgomery said.
"We never imagined this would happen in the first place because they didn't do anything wrong," said Ivey. "It's definitely a wake-up call."
Family members say the trip back to the U.S. aboard the Aqua Quest should take the crew approximately four to five days.