Survivors, once stranded 16 hours offshore, "without God, we wouldn't be here."

Survivors, once stranded 16 hours offshore, "Without God we wouldn't be here."

ISLE OF PALMS, SC (WCSC) - Keith Judy is a living miracle, and has the battle wounds to prove it.

Judy, marked by scars from rope once embedded into his skin, stands among four survivors able to walk away, after being stranded in the ocean for 16 hours.

"There's no other way to describe it than a miracle," he said.

"Without God we wouldn't be here.  No doubt."

Judy and his 11-year-old son Reece, set off on a fishing trip off the South Carolina coast Sunday, with friends Kenny Winningham, 40, and Justin Stancil, 12.

Judy described a boat engine failure as the first sign of trouble, but said it wasn't until the boat's battery also lost power, that he knew the four were in grave danger.

"Within a few minutes, some big waves crashed into the back of the boat, water was in the boat now."

"I had two five gallon buckets.  We grabbed the buckets and started dumping water.  We couldn't keep up."

Reece and Justin, 11, and 12, swam 50 feet  to retrieve rope used to hold all four together.  A move Judy described as heroic, and one that likely saved their lives.

The men stayed afloat using a Jeti cooler, also escaping the threat of sharks, with friend Kenny, a diabetic, unable to swim.

"He thought as soon as we hit the water, we weren't coming back," said Judy.

"That was the first thing that came out his mouth to me.  You know we're not going to survive."

The four were rescued Monday, at approximately 6:30 a.m., after a Coast guard airplane crew spotted their overturned boat, close to 12 miles off the Charleston coast.

Justin, 12, was short on words Thursday, remembering the boating disaster, but said among his first words once safely on land were "I love you," to his family.

"It's something you see in the movies," Judy added.

"Never thought it would happen to you."

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