Two boaters who were reported missing as Tropical Storm Cristobal made landfall along Louisiana's coast were found alive on Monday after the pair clung to a life jacket overnight and drifted on Lake Pontchartrain, according to officials.
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office said in a news release that Ted Roach and Jennifer Lingoni were located a 1:30 p.m. on Monday, nearly 24 hours after they were reported missing. The U.S. Coast Guard said the pair had left Salt Bayou near Slidell, La., at 1 p.m. Sunday on a 20-foot yellow skiff but never returned.
They told officials their boat capsized near Treasure Island Sunday afternoon and they drifted and swam using a shared life jacket and various pieces of marine debris Sunday night until they were able to stand in approximately five feet of water.
“We had one life jacket between the both of us [and] I picked up a big log to float for both of us," Roach told FOX8 on Monday. "I wasn’t gonna let nothing happen to her but we made it all right."
After making it to shore at Goose Point sometime on Monday morning, the two swam across a marsh area and sought refuge at a camp near Bayou Lacombe, where they were located by the afternoon, according to police.
Roach's sister, Glynis Caruthers, shared photos of the two on Facebook after being rescued on Monday, writing, "They swam all night!"
Roach told FOX8 it's typical to go out on the water when storms blow through the region for crabbing or shrimping, but this time his boat motor died when he was in the middle of the lake. The boat then began to sink, sending the two into the water as the tropical storm approached.
The pair told FOX8 they estimate the storm took them more than 24 miles around the lake before they were finally able to be rescued about 13 miles from where the boat ended up sinking.
A Coast Guard helicopter aircrew, the Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries were all involved in the search for the two boaters. As they floated in the water, Roach said the pair tried to flag down help from search crews overhead but were not spotted.
“It was miserable watching the people fly over, you're waving to them and you just spend so much energy trying to stay afloat and they fly right over you; they don’t even see you,” he told FOX8.
When the two were finally able to make it to an area where they were able to stand, Roach said they treaded for miles through a marsh and flooded roadway.
"I had no shirt on, I wish I would’ve kept my shirt because I would’ve not get cut up all on my chest and my stomach ... all my legs, feet, knees everything's cut up," he said.
Coast Guard officials said the two were able to get to a home and get the attention of a Good Samaritan, who was able to contact authorities. Both were checked by medical personnel and found to be in "safe and stable condition."
Scott Talbo of the U.S. Coast Guard in New Orleans said in a news release that "persons should reconsider going on the water during a tropical storm."
“Unpredictable sea conditions, winds, and currents can cause even the most experienced of mariners to get into trouble. Those same conditions make it very difficult to locate mariners in distress by aircraft and vessels trying to search," Talbo said.
Cristobal, now a tropical depression, is bringing heavy rain to the Midwest and is expected to merge with another storm system by Wednesday morning.
If Cristobal stays a tropical depression by the time it reaches Wisconsin, it will be a first for the state. Only three other tropical systems have tracked across Wisconsin since records began, but those were only remnants of earlier tropical storms.
Fox News' Janice Dean contributed to this report.