Airmen from Patrick Air Force Base saved two boaters early Saturday after their boat became stranded off the Florida coast.

  • Airmen from Patrick Air Force Base rescue boaters
  • Father and son from Germany stranded after boat catches fire
  • Men taken to ORMC for treatment

A team from the 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick Air Force Base were called in by the U.S. Coast Guard to assist in the rescue.

A small boat caught fire 500 miles from shore Friday night, stranding two German citizens a 66-year-old man and his 48-year-old son, officials said.

The team sent an HC-130P/N “King” fixed-wing combat rescue aircraft carrying six Guardian Angel Airmen, who specialize in all types of rescues.

When the team arrived at the scene, five pararescuers jumped into the water.

They were able to put the two men in a life boat, which was hoisted on the aircraft.

“The fact that we could find that life boat out in the middle of the ocean we say it’s like finding needles in a pile of needles,” said Lt. Colonel Steven Lawhun, who was one of 80 airmen called to assist in the rescue.

The father and son were taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center. One of the men had severe burns covering 30 percent of his body.

While they train for rescues like this one, Lt. Lawton says it’s always a humbling experience. 

“In the thick of it we don’t think about it, but this morning you reflect on it. It is a true honor what our PJ’s do that they jump out into the middle of the water to rescue someone else with no regard for themselves,” he said.