Crew member recalls rescue of man clinging to boat off Florida coast

The picture of Stuart Bee climbing aboard the Coast Guard ship Angeles has now gone viral. Second Officer and Medical Officer Lecruser Relativo snapped that picture minutes after the rescue.

"It was meant to be," said Relativo.

On Tuesday, Bee stepped onto dry land for the first time when the ship arrived in Delaware. He said he was surprised by the crowd gathered there and said "you know the world's most interesting man, I'm just the opposite." 

The fisherman was found in the Atlantic Ocean Sunday clinging to his 32-foot capsized boat. He was 86 miles off the coast of Brevard County.

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When the Coast Guard found Bee, he had his arms wrapped around the top of the bow, just barely above water. Photos of the scene show him blending in with the ocean, making it like finding a needle in a haystack.

Relativo said that even though he and his team are trained for this, this was his first rescue in his 12 years of experience.

He said the first question Bee asked him was what day it was.

 "I said November 29th, Sunday, and after that, he looked up to the sky and made the sign of the cross. And that moment there, I think I will forever remember that," Relativo said.

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Bee said the crew on the Angeles are now his friends.

“The entire crew had this sense of joy, they had found me. For me though, it went from major concern, to suddenly a feeling of relief," Bee explained.

During this time of confusion and uncertainty, Relativo said Bee’s rescue gave him hope.

"We rescued Mr. Bee, but for myself, I think Mr. Bee rescued us. It's like his story is a story of never giving up," Relativo said.

Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.