Couple rescued after treading water for 14 hours off Florida coast

MIAMI (Reuters) - A group of off-duty sheriff's officers on a morning fishing trip near Fort Lauderdale, Florida rescued a couple who had been treading water all night after falling off their boat near Key Largo and drifting nearly 112 kilometres.

"We were all stunned, we all looked at each other and asked are we seeing what we think we're seeing," Mr Keith Salvis of the Broward Sheriff Office's fire rescue department told a local NBC affiliate.

The couple, Mr Sean McGovern, 50, and Ms Mellisa Morris, 52, were in the water for 14 hours without life jackets or signaling devices.

When they were found on Saturday morning, they told their rescuers they had fallen off the back of their 9-metre boat the previous evening.

The fishing party contacted the United States Coast Guard. Mr McGovern and Ms Morris were taken ashore, treated for mild hypothermia and jellyfish stings, and picked up by friends, US Coast Guard spokesman Mark Barney said.

"As empty as the ocean was today, with only another two or three boats, they might have been out there for another two or three days and who knows what fate might have held," Mr Salvis told the television station.

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