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Three boaters rescued after three days lost at sea

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Missing Florida boaters found
  • The men were rescued off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, Saturday night
  • Their boat had broken down and the radio had failed
  • They ate what they had caught to maintain strength during the ordeal
  • Florida
  • U.S. Navy
  • Missing Persons

Read more about the boaters from CNN affiliate WJXX.

(CNN) -- Three boaters in South Florida have made it back to worried friends and family on dry land, three days after they went missing when their 32-foot boat broke down during what was supposed to be a one-day fishing trip 20 miles off of West Palm Beach.

The trio -- identified as John Land, 48, David Blakeney, 39, and Kevin Wood, 45, all from the local area -- and their disabled boat, named the Shade Maker, were spotted Saturday night by a U.S. Navy frigate 85 miles east of Jacksonville, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

None of the men was injured, and their craft was towed to shore in a joint effort between the Navy frigate and the Coast Guard, arriving in Mayport, Florida, overnight Saturday.

Skipper Land told CNN affiliate WJXX that the boat blew an oil pan gasket and the radio failed when he tried to call for help.

The men's situation grew tense when the boat was caught in a Gulf Stream current and drifted further north.

The men were reported missing early Friday by a relative who grew worried when the boaters did not return Thursday at sunset as originally planned, the Coast Guard said.

"We could hear on the radio, we could hear everybody looking for us, but could not get back," Land said.

Land said they ate their catch to maintain strength during the three days at sea.

"Last night we had raw dolphin and a little spicy mustard," he said.

He was grateful to be back on shore Sunday, expressing appreciation to see signs of life again.

"It is good," he said. "I'm looking at buildings and trees and stuff. It is a beautiful thing because out there we couldn't see the glare of the city lights anymore."