NewsPinellas County


Boat found abandoned during Hurricane Sally

Posted at 6:09 PM, Sep 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-21 05:08:30-04

Chris Hill's wife and sister were sitting outside on the deck when they saw what looked like a boat bobbing in the Gulf near Panama City Beach.

"I didn't believe them at first," Hill laughed. "who would be out in this weather?"

A good question, considering Hurricane Sally was moving through.

"When I saw the boat, I knew it was bad," Hill said.

He called the U.S. Coast Guard and waited for the "Yes Dear" to reach the shore. He then went to check the boat out and see if anyone was on board.

Debris was everywhere. Hill said the boat was nearly destroyed.

"I was able to search the whole vessel, and found no one was on board," he said.

It was empty, so he and his family prayed that the people made it off safely. He also posted a picture of the boat in one of his fishing groups on Facebook. A friend of his quickly responded, saying he saw the same boat, but the people were rescued.

"That was good. I was happy about that," said Hill.

According to the Coast Guard, this all started Sunday, 70 miles west of Clearwater.

The owner of the boat, George Haynie, and three others were out sailing when the boat started taking on water.

The storm made the rescue difficult, but they were able to save everyone.

The "Yes Dear" kept going north, until it reached Panama City Beach where Hill and his family are staying.

"I couldn't believe it got all the way up here to Panama City Beach in a hurricane," he said.