A group of family and friends were rescued by the Coast Guard after their boat was hit by lightning about 100 miles off the coast of Florida in a frightening scene that was captured on video.
"I've been through storms. I've had lightning around me in the past, but nothing like this," co-captain Glenn Rumer told NBC News correspondent Kerry Sanders on TODAY Monday.
"Every second, there was lightning," Rumer's sister, Sherrie Kelley, said on TODAY.
Rumer and Kelley were part of a group of seven passengers aboard a boat that was about 100 miles off the coast of Clearwater for a fishing tournament on Saturday. The vessel faced wind gusts up to 35 miles an hour, 6-foot waves and nonstop lightning when they decided to turn back.
"There was only one way to go, and that was kind of through the storm," Rumer said.
Their 39-foot boat then suffered a direct hit by a bolt of lightning.
"The outrigger that actually got struck exploded into splinters and was on fire when it landed," Rumer said. "The motors, the electrical, everything went out. We were completely dead in the water."
Kelley quickly ushered the other passengers, including a pregnant woman, below deck.
"I went into mom mode," she said. "Everybody really held it together as best as they could."
Rumer used a radio beacon to send out a distress signal to the Coast Guard. Petty Officers 2nd Class Karli Thomas and Brian Kamp were part of a four-person Coast Guard search and rescue crew that flew nearly two hours to reach the disabled boat.
Kamp dove into the water to swim to the boat and assess the situation, finding a group of passengers thankful to see him.
"We started crying," Rumer said.
All seven passengers were airlifted to safety, and the Coast Guard kept in close contact with the emergency contacts for all of the passengers to apprise them of the situation.
"I love them all," Rumer said about the Coast Guard. "They’re all angels. Angels of the water."
It all added up to a fishing trip that Kelley and Rumer will never forget.
"Mother Nature had her way with us," Kelley said.
"We had God’s backing, and he blessed us and everybody is safe at home and nobody hurt," Rumer said.
Florida is the lightning capital of the country, with an average of 10 people killed in the state every year by lightning, according to the National Weather Service. July is the most deadly month for lightning strikes in Florida.
Officials say every boat should have flares and lifejackets as well as a beacon device known as an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB), which Rumer used to signal for help.