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Man Treads Water for 20 Hours While Awaiting Rescue After Fall From Fishing Boat


A 61-year-old man stranded in the Gulf of Mexico without a life jacket, tread water for 20 hours in a desperate bid to stay alive.

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William Durden fell off his fishing boat Wednesday while fishing alone. He somehow was able to tread water off the coast of Florida for all those hours while awaiting rescue.

His boat tipped in the Homosassa River, north of Clearwater. He said: “It got tough when nightfall came. I was afraid of sharks and I could feel fish biting at my legs. Once my legs started bleeding, I knew it would bring the big boys." 

Durden, a retired pilot, credits his Navy training for knowing what to do.

"They teach you how to drown proof yourself, what position you need to be to stay above the water instead of below it," he said. 

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Inside Edition has tips to keep safe if you find yourself in the same situation as Durden.

In order to stay afloat, tread water and move your legs in a circular motion. Use your hands to scull and move them back and forth, pushing the water down. When you get tired, you can lay on your back and float. Also, always remember to keep breathing.

Having a positive attitude also helps.

"I was thinking, I am so close at retiring at my present job, I am not going to get ripped off and die out here, ” Durden said.

Watch: Hugh Jackman Rescues His Children, Other Swimmers in Strong Riptide 

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