John Aldridge, a Montauk commercial fisherman, fell overboard about 3:30 a.m. on July 24, 2013, while working as part of a crew on the 44-foot fishing vessel Anna Mary. For nearly 12 hours, he was in the water swimming and fighting to stay afloat until he was plucked from the Atlantic Ocean by a Coast Guard helicopter, part of a multistate team that began searching for him when a member of his crew reported him missing. Officials say he was found more than 40 miles from where he went overboard. Aldridge, 45, says thoughts of his nephew and his own fishing boots, which he used as flotation devices, helped him stay alive while he dodged fins, which might have been sharks'.
John Aldridge (left) stands next to his sister-in-law, Jillian Aldridge, and his sister, Cathy Patterson, as they wait for the New London ferry to go home after he was from the hospital in Falmouth, Mass. Aldridge, 45, used his rubber boots as a life raft as he struggled to stay afloat in the Atlantic Ocean for nearly 12 hours before Coast Guard rescuers plucked him from the water Wednesday, more than 40 miles from where he had fallen overboard. (July 25, 2013)
John Aldridge, a commercial fisherman from Montauk, recovers in a Massachusetts hospital after being rescued at sea. He suffered dehydration, hypothermia and major sunburn from the nearly 12-hour ordeal. (July 24, 2013)
Montauk fisherman John Aldridge is taken to a Massachusetts hospital after being rescued at sea by a Coast Guard helicopter. (July 24, 2013)
Montauk fisherman John Aldridge touches down on solid ground after nearly 12 hours at sea, more than 40 miles from where he fell overboard. Coast Guard crews from five states and fellow commercial fishermen launched a search that spanned eight hours and 780 square miles. (July 24, 2013)
In this U.S. Coast Guard video image, Montauk fisherman John Aldridge uses his fishing boots to help him stay afloat. He was able to survive at sea for nearly 12 hours after he fell overboard from a fishing vessel. (July 24, 2013)
In this undated photo, John Aldridge, a Montauk lobsterman, hauls his catch. On the afternoon of July 24, 2013, he was rescued at sea, more than 40 miles from where he had fallen overboard from a fishing vessel nearly 12 hours earlier.
Montauk fisherman John Aldridge is shown in a photo from fall 2007. He was rescued at sea on July 24, 2013, nearly 12 hours after falling overboard.