54-year-old Ron Tubbs was following the stars Friday night, and he is counting his lucky stars. Tubbs was rescued at sea after a harrowing eight hours floating away from Oahu's west shore.
Tubbs and his partner began their usual day looking for aquarium fish off the Waianae Boat Harbor, but the ocean had other plans.
Tubbs and his partner Scott Folsom call their boat the "Yellow Beast." But while they were diving on Friday, at some point Tubbs was unable to get back to the boat.
"I did an emergency ascent with a reel line and did most of my deco and then the line broke. So I did an emergency surface, to see where the boat was at and try to make it to the boat. I was unable to make it to the boat and spent the next 7 hours drifting at sea," Ron Tubbs said.
Ocean currents took Ron past Kaena point 8 miles off shore and then toward Mokuleia. He was wearing a dry suit and had other safety equipment.
"A lot goes through your mind like, am I going to make it? It's a strong possibility that you don't and I've known a lot of people over the years who didn't make it," Tubbs stated.
In the meantime, his dive partner Scott Folsom had made it back to the boat and realizing that Ron was missing, called the fire department and the coast guard. He then began his own sea search for his friend.
"Couldn't see a thing. Saw a coupld of helicopters, but they said they had spotted a green light in the water. They said a rescue boat was on the way but I could not, for the life of me find him," dive partner Scott Folsom said.
Tubbs was carrying a green laser, smaller than a flashlight, to let the coast guard know where he was.
"I was hanging on to that green laser pretty tight because I didn't want to lose that because that was my last chance and it pretty much saved me right there," Tubbs said.
Did he do the right thing?
"It would have been almost impossible to see him unless we were right on top of him, knew exactly where he was. The way were able to find him so quickly is because he had some type of device, signalling device," Lt. Christopher Mcandrew with the U.S. Coast Guard said.
"I'd really like to thank the Coast Guard because they risked their lives. They were out there, they spent a lot of time and energy and effort in saving my life. I gravely appreciate the Coast Guard and the Fire Department. Those guys are stand-up guys," Tubbs concluded.
Tubbs also wanted to thank the doctors and staff at Kuakini Medical Center where he was taken after his "lost at sea" ordeal.
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