Posted by: Craig Woolheater on May 30th, 2011
Aboard an rubber raft, the five companions paddled toward the Massachusetts, but they ran afoul of unexpected currents, gale-force winds, and fog that left them stranded on a buoy anchored to the sunken hulk. At nightfall, according to McCleary, a long-necked and foul-smelling sea monster approached the buoy, prompting all five boys to swim in panic through the fog. McCleary saw the beast grab Eric Ruyle and drag him underwater, followed shortly by the sound of Salley shouting, “It’s got Brad!” Moments later, a scream signaled Salley’s fate, while McCleary lost sight of Larry Bill in the mist. McCleary alone reached the shore, spending the night in World War II-era gun emplacement near Fort McRae, where a helicopter crew from Pensacola’s Naval Air Station found him at 7:45 A.M. on Sunday.