If it weren’t for a battered, green, Igloo cooler, two Boston, Massachusetts men might have never made it home to their families.
Commercial fishermen Joseph Azeredo and his son, Tommy Azeredo, recently took their 28-foot boat out on Boston Harbor to check their lobster traps. They were near Graves Light, an island about eight miles from the mainland, when their lines became tangled in the boat’s engine. As they worked to cut the ropes they hit rocks, and the boat started to sink.
In the chaos that ensued, only Joseph managed to keep his life preserver on. The men briefly lost sight of one another as they scrambled to get off the rapidly-sinking vessel. One of them managed to place an emergency S.O.S. call before they were plunged into the water.
“I was thinking about my family,” Tommy recalled. “I didn’t think I was going to see them again. I can hear my father screaming for me. It was terrifying, man. It was very terrifying.”
When their green Igloo cooler bobbed to the surface, the men clung to it and hung on for dear life.
Officers Stephen Merrick and Garrett Boyle of the Boston Police Department’s Harbor Unit received the 911 call to help and quickly boated over to the area. As soon as they spotted the men hanging on to the cooler, they realized the severity of their situation.
“We’ve gotten calls that sound serious and then you get there and it’s not really that big a deal,” said Officer Boyle. “But we were pulling up and Steve was like ‘Oh yeah, this is serious.'”
In police body-cam footage shared online that shows the dramatic rescue, it’s clear exactly why these officers could immediately tell that this call for help wasn’t like the others they get.
“We’re so weak,” Tommy says in the video before insisting they rescue his dad first. “Help him up please. Help him up first.”
The officers obliged, hauling Joseph first and then Tommy into the rescue boat. Both men were taken to shore to be checked out by emergency medical services. Incredibly, they were okay except for bumps and bruises! A few days later, Tommy and Joseph got a chance to thank their heroes in person.
“Once we saw these guys come in, we were thanking God the whole time, saying a little bit of prayer, because we didn’t know if we were going to come home to our families” said Tommy.
“They are heroes,” he added. “They are heroes.”
After thanking the police, there was just one more thing for this father and son team to be grateful for: the cooler!
“I just want to say a shoutout to Igloo coolers because if that wasn’t there right next to me, I was all beat up from getting banged up on the rocks, that’s what actually saved my life,” said Tommy.
Shout out to the cooler and these brave cops who got there just in the nick of time! Tommy and Joseph say they’re going to give up lobstering for good and focus only on fishing from now on. Whatever they do, we just hope they bring along that cooler!
Watch the incredible rescue footage of Tommy and Joseph below, and don’t forget to share.
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