NewsPasco County


Man rescued from stilt house near Port Richey after jet ski drifted away

Posted at 4:26 PM, Feb 26, 2020

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. -- A missing jet skier was found safe after an overnight search in Port Richey.

Cole Torrent was taking a friend’s jet ski out for a spin in Port Richey Tuesday afternoon, when the water got a little more choppy than he expected.

“My idea was, I’ll just take a quick spin around the island and come back,” said Torrent.

But something caught his eye in the process.

“I noticed there was a bird trapped in some wire on one of the stilt houses,” said Torrent.

Torrent pulled over to the stilt house, docked the jet ski and rescued the bird. But when he returned, the jet ski was gone.

“It had floated off... I jumped in the water immediately trying to get to the jet ski but at the time, the current was too strong and it was moving it faster than I could swim,” said Torrent.

In that moment, Cole had a life-or-death decision to make; keep swimming toward the jet ski, or return to safety at the stilt house.

“I had a younger brother that lost his life so just being out there, I knew that I couldn’t let my mom lose another son,” said Torrent.

It was an easy decision for Cole to make.

“I was able to break into a window and get inside and luckily they had a tarp I could cover myself with and a space heater which really got me through the night,” said Torrent.

Meanwhile, Cole’s friends and family reported him missing. The Coast Guard, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, Port Richey Police Department and Port Richey Fire Department searched for Cole through the night.

“About 6 a.m. this morning I heard them, but they were too far to actually see me, but then the Pasco County Sheriff helicopter came around and was looking around the other stilt houses, so I got kind of on the roof and flagged them down,” said Torrent.

Now, Torrent is giving one piece of advice to anyone who heads out on the water.

“Riding jet skis, if something goes wrong, or if you get ejected from your jet ski, and now you can’t catch up to it, it’s always a good idea to ride with a buddy,” said Torrent.

Torrent is now looking to get in contact with the owner of the stilt house so that he can pay for the repairs to the window.