PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WFLA) – A 28-year-old jet skier who was reported missing in Pasco County on Tuesday has been found alive, the Coast Guard said on Wednesday.
Cole Torrent of Trinity was located by the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office air unit Wednesday morning and brought to shore by the agency’s marine unit. Then he was treated by EMS and released, officials said.
Torrent said he took his jet ski out on the water before the storms rolled in around 2 p.m. Tuesday.
He spotted a bird that was caught in some wiring that was being used to keep birds off of a stilt house. Torrent said he docked the jet ski and tried to free the bird, but the watercraft floated away. Torrent was eventually able to swim to another stilt house and broke through a window to get inside. He said he used a tarp and a space heater that was there to stay warm.
“Whoever’s stilt house that was, I will repair it. I will pay for the window I had to break in,” Torrent said.
Torrent said he woke up around dawn and tried to flag down a helicopter.
“I did and just waved him down,” Torrent recalled.
Torrent said he felt a little tired and hungry, but was otherwise able to manage.
“I’m just happy to be back on land and just having his many people here to show support — people who took off work, my friends, my family,” Torrent said. “It just shows how many people care about me. And I really didn’t expect that many people to be here. Obviously, my mom. My dad drove up hours to be here. My friends took off work. So, I just feel so grateful to have such good, close-knit friends and family that care that much.”
The sheriff’s office, Pasco County Fire Rescue, Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission and Port Richey Police Department assisted in the search.