Mike Ozburn, an avid scuba diver was headed out for a good days diving in the Gulf of Mexico, 16 miles from the coast. Ozburn was new to the sport when the mishap occurred - only starting his diving career in November of 2018.
It is reported that Ozburn spent as long as 7 hours floating on the surface of the Mexican Gulf alone, following what seems to be a collection of challenges below the surface.
A calamity of problems
Ozbun stated he had an equipment 'problem' upon descending, shortly after entering the water from the boat. During his efforts to amend the problem, he has become separated from his buddy. As all divers should, Ozburn returned to the surface, only to realise he was already 150 yards from the boat and caught in a current.
"At that point I inflated my safety buoy and waved my arms, blew my whistle. I was like 'Oh man, this is not good."
Before he could get the boats attention, the current swept him further from the boat. Remaining with his SMB and whistle, Ozburn floated off until he was totally alone.
Lost at sea
Needless to say, time dragged for Ozburn as he bobbled about on the surface at the mercy of the waves. He had no knowledge of where his buddy had gone, or whether the boat was conducting a search for him.
"I started getting hope when i heard a helicopter, I started laughing and thought 'this is it. I'm going to be rescued.' Then the helicopter flew past me."
Of course, the coast guard and local law enforcement had been made aware of Ozburn's disappearance from the boat who had launched a search, as well as at least two dive boats in addition to his own.
Back to dry land
After five hours of floating and with no sign of rescue, it dawned on him that help might not be on the way after all. Pointing his compass south, he began kicking in a hope to get back to shore. As most divers know, swimming against a current is hard work, often resulting in little or no progress.
"I was getting cramps, but I was pushing myself. I wanted to survive."
After another two hours had passed, Ozburn finally saw the sight he had hoped for. A dive boat had spotted him and made its way towards him, careful not to get too close.
"Hey, you need a ride?" One of the divers called from the deck before jumping in and towing Ozburn on board before they motored back to land.
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