Woman treads water for 13 hours in Gulf of Mexico

Woman Survives Treading Water 13 Hours In Gulf Of Mexico

A week ago, Dora Steed got separated from her husband and their boat while diving for scallops in the Gulf of Mexico, and she was forced to tread water for almost 13 hours before she was rescued. She spoke to ABC: "There's no other boats out there, um it's thundering and the skies are dark."

Woman treads water for 13 hours
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Woman treads water for 13 hours in Gulf of Mexico
A view of Playa La Ropa beach in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, taken through a tilt-shift lens. The length and depth of the beach can be seen as well as the pleasure craft in the bay and the hotels & resorts on the mountain behind the beach.
Magdalena Island, Pacific Coast, Baja California, Mexico.
Isla Magdalena, Baja California Sur, Mexico, North America
A bag of scallops that was harvested in the Gulf of Mexico, three miles from the mouth of the Steinhatchee River in Florida, is pictured June 21, 2010. The state of Florida opened up scallop fishing two weeks early because of oil spill. (Photo by Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images)

WTSP reports while snorkeling, the Steeds' boat drifted away. Dora's husband, Larry, swam off in search of it, and when he finally returned with the boat to the spot where he'd left Dora, she was nowhere to be found.

ABC says Larry frantically called 911 while he was still out searching the water for his wife. Rescue crews immediately responded, but were called back after a few hours of fruitless searching because of storms in the area.

But Dora was resourceful, and found a way to keep herself upright in the water throughout the night. "I saw a piece of PVC pipe sticking up out of the water. I literally put my legs around the pole and my arms around the pole and just hung on."

Captain Ernie Croft was part of the search and rescue team the previous day, but decided to go out searching on his own for Dora the next morning.

WTVT reports he thought the water had drifted her all the way over to Green Key Island, a place the search and rescue team wasn't looking. It's about a mile and a half away from where Larry reported Dora missing. He was right.

"She was in good spirits. She was not cold. She had a smile on her face. She was just thirsty. If she hadn't had found that PVC pipe out there, she probably wouldn't have made it."

WFLA says Dora was immediately taken to a local hospital to rest and be treated for dehydration.

My Fox Hurricane says water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico are relatively high during the summer months, so thankfully Dora didn't have to worry about catching hypothermia.

Dora told ABC she did suffer some jellyfish stings, but she was only ever afraid of the lighting during those 13 hours alone in the water. Miraculously, though, when she was rescued, Dora was still holding onto her bag of scallops.

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