CAPE MAY, N.J. – The sole survivor from a scallop boat that sank off the coast of New Jersey says a wooden plank saved his life.
Jose Luis Arias says he jumped overboard when the Lady Mary began sinking on March 24. He tells investigators that he paddled away from the boat so it wouldn't suck him under, and floated on his back to keep water from filling his survival suit.
Arias says he found an 8-foot-long piece of wood floating in the water and clung to it for two hours in darkness.
When a Coast Guard helicopter arrived after daybreak, he says he felt "born again."
Earlier Tuesday, the panel heard autopsy results that showed the captain and one crew member had used marijuana. The testimony was part of a Coast Guard inquiry into the cause of the accident.