American tourists are rescued from a sinking boat seconds before it capsizes off Puerto Rico in dramatic footage
- Angel Abad was sailing in Puerto Rico with his family when he saw a boat sinking
- He raced to the stricken vessel and helped seven American tourists to safety
- Within three minutes, the tour boat had slipped beneath the waves
These were the incredible scenes as two boats went to the aid of passengers and crew of a tourist vessel which was sinking off the coast of Puerto Rico.
The 25ft open-topped vessel was already starting to tip backwards when Angel Abad and his crew raced to the scene near Culebra Island.
The sinking boat was carrying seven American tourists and a couple of crew when it got into difficulty at around 5pm on Saturday, March 5.
This is the moment a boat taking American tourists on an excursion in Puerto Rico is about to slip under the waves having flooded with water
The tour boat, pictured, suffered an unexplained problem which caused it to quickly flood and sink on Saturday March 5 forcing the passengers to flee for their lives
Angel Abad and a friend managed used their boats to rescue the passengers and crew who all avoided injury
Footage of the incident shows how the heavy outboard engines on the boat’s stern dragged it backwards into the sea.
By the time the decks were awash, the captain standing on the poop deck was the last person aboard the doomed vessel.
With everyone safely on Mr Abad’s vessel, the captain, who was knee-deep in water, jumped into the sea and swam away from his boat.
Commenting after the incident, Mr Abad said: ‘I was leaving Culebra Island in the direction of Puerto del Rey Marina in Fajardo. On the high seas I noticed a boat that looked strange.
‘We noticed that water was entering and quickly began to provide support. We were able to rescue seven Americans and the crew before the boat sank.’
The drama happened east of Puerto Rico and soon went viral after footage of the rescue was uploaded online.
The captain of the tourist vessel was the last to leave his sinking ship and swim to safety
After the stern went under, an air pocket in the bow made the stricken vessel bob like a bottle
Mr Abad, who was skippering his boat said it was a ‘miracle’ that the passengers and crew of the other boat were still alive.
In a later TV interview, Mr Abad said he was sailing with his family when he spotted the problem. He said he was unsure why the boat sunk, although there is a possibility that it could have been overloaded.
He said it took less than three minutes for the boat to sink.
Two of the tourists were brought safely ashore by a second boat which arrived on the scene.
He said: ‘They should all be thanking God they were saved that day!’
None of the passengers or crew were injured despite their ordeal.
Mr Abad said his children aged six and nine were on the boat and were shocked.
The skipper of the second rescue boat said: ‘In the water, we are all friends. We need to help each other.’