Missing Boaters Back on Dry Land, Thankful

A happy ending after Coast Guard rescues fisherman

Six New Jersey men who failed to return from an overnight fishing trip were rescued Monday night.

They returned safe and sound to to their families Tuesday afternoon after their boat, the Black Magic, lost power.

The Black Magic was found drifting about 120 miles off the New Jersey coast around 7:15 p.m. Monday, the Coast Guard's David Umberger said.

The whole ordeal started Sunday around 1 a.m. when the boat went dead.

Rescued fisherman Geoffrey McDade tried to explain what happened.

"We had a major electrical failure and we were dead in the water, no power."

The Coast Guard got involved Sunday night when the wife of one of men called to report that the group didn't come home as planned. They left Forked River section of Lacey Township on Saturday headed about 85 miles east of Atlantic City, expected to spend one night at sea and return Sunday morning.

"Everyone is just so relieved," said Johanna Silcox, whose father-in-law, Edward Silcox of the Iselin section of Woodbridge, was among those rescued. "I don't know why, but we all just had a feeling he was going to be all right."

The boat is owned by McDade, a diesel mechanic, and his 26-year-old son James McDade, a machinist in the Navy who recently returned from a stint in Iraq. Both men were on board along with Silcox, Bernie Otremsky, Jerry Lewis and Ray Somerville, when the Black Magic when it ran into trouble.

"The boat was taking on water," said Otremsky. "And we're out there and with the boat taking on water we were manually pumping water out of the boat."

A mayday call from the 32-foot boat named the Black Magic was picked up at 1 a.m. Monday. The Coast Guard expanded its search as far north as Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, where the signal was received.

Two rescue helicopter crews from Atlantic City, a C-130 aircraft from Elizabeth City, N.C., and three Coast Guard boats from ports along the Jersey shore were searching. One of those search groups found the Black Magic.

The younger McDade shared a secret of how the man stayed alive.

"Just keep positive, try to conserve water."

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