Published July 25, 2013
MONTAUK, N.Y. – A Montauk lobsterman who fell overboard and struggled to stay afloat for 12 hours is recuperating at a Cape Cod hospital.
John Aldridge, who wasn't wearing a life jacket, tells Newsday his rubber boots saved his life.
He said he used them as a life raft. He was found floating Wednesday about 40 miles from his boat.
The fisherman says he went "straight out the back of the boat" around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday while moving a cooler.
Coast Guard crews from five states and commercial fishing crews searched 780 square miles before finding him.
Aldridge was part of a crew on a 44-foot fishing vessel out of Montauk when he fell in the water.
He's being treated for dehydration, exposure and hypothermia at Falmouth Hospital.