EDISTO ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – On Monday afternoon, Charleston County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) responded to a watercraft in distress near Steamboat Landing on Edisto Island.
James Ballentine and William Hallman had a good start to their shark fishing trip; they had caught a few fish before the weather began to turn.
“The water was just filling in the boat,” said Ballentine. “I jumped to the front. The water was filling in the back it started to turn, flip over.”
The wind picked up and the water got choppy, bringing waves that the men described as taller than them, and causing their 16-foot vessel to capsize. They were able to climb on top of the boat and call for help.
“I had my phone, his died,” said Ballentine. “I had about 20% and called 911 and they said help is coming.”
Valentine and Hallman spent about 35 minutes on top of the boat before a family out on their boat saw the pair in distress and rescued them, bringing them back to the dock at Steamboat Landing.
There, Charleston County Sheriff’s deputies were waiting and the emergency crews helped the men retrieve the boat and unlock their truck at the landing.
They lost all of their fishing gear, wallets, and keys, but luckily, they were not injured.
“He was pretty shaken up. I’m the swimmer he’s not,” said Ballentine. “We didn’t have any life jackets. I was more worried about him staying safe on the boat.”
Hallman and Ballentine say they are lucky to be alive.
“Thankful that God was on our side today. It could have ended a lot worse,” said Ballentine.
Editor’s note: this story has been updated to include details about the event, as provided by agencies and those involved.