A spear fisherman mistakenly left behind by his father 13 miles off the coast of Ensenada, Mexico, was rescued by a San Diego charter boat captain.
Captain Rick Scott of the Ocean Odyssey has been taking anglers out to sea for 30 years, but this catch was the first of its kind.
"This will be a moment that I will never forget ever," Scott said.
Last Wednesday they were fishing 12 miles north of where spear fisherman Alex Crosthwaite, 27, went into the water, Scott said.
Get San Diego local news, weather forecasts, sports and lifestyle stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC San Diego newsletters.
He heard Crosthwaite's father on the radio saying his son was missing in the water.
"If you do get into trouble, you're pretty lonely and you want somebody to come out and help you," Scott said.
The skipper turned his boat in Crosthwaite's direction hoping to help save a life. They searched three hours before spotting him.
"I turned the boat at three o'clock, looked out at my binoculars and I could see his arms and it was him for sure," Scott said.
According to his student biography, Crosthwaite is a Cathedral Catholic High School graduate and played football for UC Berkeley.
He had been floating in the ocean more than four hours by the time he was rescued. Still, he swam to the Ocean Odyssey and was pulled aside with a life preserver.
"He seemed like he had jumped in the water in a pool -- went for a swim and got out. He hopped on the boat full of energy and was fine. I asked him if we could get him anything and the first thing he wanted was a beer," Scott said.
Crosthwaite was eventually transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard cutter that was also searching for him.
Floating 13 miles offshore and 60 miles from your home is no enviable position. Scott said finding Crosthwaite was somewhere between luck and experience.
"Both people being in the right place at the right time, but it also is training on the crew’s part. What to look for, where to look, and don't give up till you find them," Scott said.
Scott said Crosthwaite told them he jumped from his father’s boat when he saw fish in the water, but apparently went in without any of his gear.
By the time his father realized Alex was off the boat, he was too far away to spot him.
Crosthwaite is originally from Rosarito, Mexico. He told Scott he now lives in San Diego.