Man on sinking boat: 'Everybody has got to die, and this may be - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Man on sinking boat: 'Everybody has got to die, and this may be your day'

(Photo source: Tom Mallett) (Photo source: Tom Mallett)
(Photo source: Tom Mallett) (Photo source: Tom Mallett)
JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

Twenty four hours after nearly losing his life in the Gulf of Mexico, a Coast man says he'd be out fishing right now if he could be. On Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued Tom Mallett, 56, of Jackson County, and three others after the boat they were on sank.

Mallett and his friends, including a 15-year-old boy, launched from Ocean Springs to go fishing. They were about 90 miles south of Biloxi and 30 miles south of the Chandeleur Islands when a storm rolled in.

As Mallett shared his story of a fishing trip gone wrong, he feels fortunate to have lived to tell the tale. The storm created 12-foot seas, causing his 26-foot boat, the Seaback, to start to sink, but the motor was still going.

"It got to a point of you know fellows, everybody has got to die, and this may be your day," said Mallett. "I had my own little prayer. If I don't make it, please forgive me, and that was pretty much it."

Mallett knew their only hope was to make it to an oil rig. He said he told the others, "When I crash into the rig, y'all jump." He said he crashed the boat on purpose.

"It was too rough to let them off. There was no easy landing, and the boat was already sinking. We had about 200 yards to go,” Mallett recalled. “We was in trouble 200 yards away from the rig. We would not have lived if we would not have made it to the rig. The sea would have been like a washing machine, life jacket or no life jacket.”

After three long hours on the rig, a Coast Guard helicopter came to the rescue. Mallett said that's because he was able to save his cell phone to call for help.

"Somehow, God was looking out for me, because the only thing we got off that boat with was my cell phone," Mallet said. "I threw it out of the boat, and it landed on the platform. We could still be out there. It's a desolate place out there. There's nobody out there. Ain't like you can holler for somebody to help you."

Mallett said despite this close call, he doesn't plan on letting anything keep him from the water he loves.

"If I had my boat. I'd go fishing today. I probably would have gone snapper fishing today," said Mallett. "Like my mother told me, ‘It just wasn't your time to go, son.'"

Mallett said he intends to make this experience a life lesson that he can pass on to others about boater safety.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved. 

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