NY lobsterman rescued 12 hours after falling off boat and floating for 40 miles

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MONTAUK, Long Island (PIX11) – John Aldridge was rescued after spending 12 hours treading water in the south of Montauk in the Atlantic Ocean.

He fell overboard Tuesday night off the Anna Mary lobster boat and was found alive 43 miles off the coast of Long Island.

The whole time he kept calm and collected, and never gave up hope of rescue.

The search covered more than 650 square miles trying to find him before he was spotted by helicopter 43 miles off Montauk.

Aldridge flipped his boots upside down and filled them with air so he could keep his head above the water.

“I just grabbed my boots, and I filled them with air, put ’em under my arms. And once I did that, I realized I was good to go,” the lobster man said.

On the first night he saw fins surrounding him, but kept calm and was not attacked.

“When I first went in at night, I saw a fin or two, in the moonlight right by me. I can’t panic because if I panic, it’ll bring more of them. I wasn’t dying that way — that was it. Dying wasn’t an option.”

The Coast Guard and rescue team spent 9 hours searching in the wrong direction until they found him.

Aldridge was treated for dehydration, exposure, and hypothermia, but is expected to return back to work this weekend.