Life jacket kept overboard sailor alive

Rick Saber was on a boat about 400 yards off Alcatraz Island Wednesday morning when he got snagged on a line and went overboard. Passengers on another vessel spotted Saber and called for help.

The U.S. Coast Guard received a call at 11:26 a.m. reporting a person in the water.

A Coast Guard boat was already in the area on patrol and picked up Saber after he was in the water for about 20 minutes, but at first couldn't find his 32-foot powerboat, The Eagle. Then 20 minutes later, the Coast Guard received a call from a Good Samaritan at Pier 70 in San Francisco who reported that a boat had just crashed into a dry dock.

There was no damage to the dock and minimal damage to the vessel, Coast Guard Petty Officer Eric Swanson said.

The Coast Guard responded and confirmed that the boat belonged to the man they had pulled from the water.

ABC7 spoke to Saber by phone Wednesday night. That's when he said, "If there's anything I can impart to the public, it's certainly resounding...use your life vest. I was solo on the boat. There's nothing worse than seeing your boat sail away by itself."

"He's in good condition," Swanson said. "We're very happy to see he was wearing his life jacket."

Nobody was hurt when the boat crashed into the dock, either. San Francisco residents Rick and Michelle Stafford were having a picnic nearby when the crash happened.

"It sounded just like a couple of trucks hitting each other," Rick Stafford said.

"It looked strange," Michelle Stafford said.

Saber was feeling good enough to pilot it safely back to port.

Bay City News contributed to this report

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