"Don't let her die this way," prayed survivor of capsized boat

Michael Green, Becky Welch (Photo courtesy Ocean Springs Police Dept.)
Michael Green, Becky Welch (Photo courtesy Ocean Springs Police Dept.)

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Michael Green spent most of the day Tuesday fielding phone calls from family, friends and well wishers. Each time, Green had to re-tell those frightening moments Sunday afternoon, when the boat he was on capsized near Horn Island.

"It seemed like the waves were coming over the bow of the boat and into the boat, and I kept telling them, 'Look, we need to get back to the island. We need to wait this thing out.  It's taking on water,'" Green recalled.

By then, it was too late. The boat flipped, sending five people flying into the chilly waters.

"Becky and I swam straight for that box to get the life jackets.  We started throwing them out to everybody," he said. "I saw Stephen.  He was still hanging on to the bow of the boat.  It was the only thing sticking out of the water.  He was drifting away."

Green and his girlfriend Becky Welch also started drifting away from the others. Their greatest fear was ending up in the Gulf.

"I was praying to God, asking Him to get us out of this ordeal safe and sound," Green said.  "My first prayer that I prayed was asking, 'Don't do this to Becky, please.  Please don't let Becky go through this. Don't let her die this way.'"

Green said he never gave up hope.  His prayers were answered, when a Coast Guard helicopter suddenly appeared and hovered over them

"Oh, I was elated! I mean, I was happy! I was happy, obviously," Green said.

After their rescue, the Coast Guard crew returned to the Mississippi Sound to pull Jonathan Navas and his wife Whitney Navas to safety.  Their friend, fellow officer Stephen Bond, is still missing.

"I'm hoping and praying to God that he's still alive," said Green.  "I hope he's on an island somewhere."

Green is recovering from dehydration, hypothermia, and a severe sunburn. He said it's a miracle that he survived the ordeal, and he's grateful for the people who saved his life.

"I plan to make a trip over there to the New Orleans Coast Guard station. I want to shake each one of their hands and thank them personally and show them the gratitude I have.  If it wasn't for them and their efforts, who knows what would happen," said Green.

Looking back, Green said he should have talked the group into waiting until the storm passed instead of trying to head home in rough weather. Green said he still loves the water and scuba diving, and he's ready to get back on a boat.

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