SALEM (CBS) – On Saturday, in the middle of the Winter Island boat ramp, Kevin Sweeney met the man who saved his life Friday night.
“These things, you hear them happen and there is so much tragedy in the world. It is good to see this has a good ending sometimes,” Jeff Chandonait said.
Jeff Chandonait was on his tow boat when he heard the mayday call for a capsized boat come in around 6 p.m.
“I slowed down, listened a little bit, kept going and I saw a little blip on the radar,” he said.
It was a sign that he couldn’t ignore.
“Slowed down and I could hear someone yelling, so I kept going over closer to it and then my spotlight shined and there was an upside-down boat with a guy on it,” he said.
It was now around 8:30 p.m.
Sweeney was shivering and had been in the water for over two hours.
Chandonait was already out on his towboat answering another call in Gloucester when he heard the mayday call. He says if it weren’t for that call and being where he was at that specific time, he may have never found him.
“He is extremely lucky because when the call came in, the coordinates were way off from where he actually was, for whatever reason. If you play it back, it’s like why did I go to Gloucester for that boat on the rocks and coming back and taking that path back through and keeping an eye out,” he said.
It was dark but Sweeney believes a wave came over the stern of his boat and that’s why it went down.
But one thing is for sure, he is thankful Jeff, who happens to have been a paramedic for almost 20 years before this, was there to save him.
“If it wasn’t his time, it wasn’t his time,” Chandonait said.
Sweeney tells us he is OK but still sore.