NEW JERSEY (WTXF) "It was just a beautiful day and it turned and flipped," said 12-year-old Scott Bernhard as he describes the harrowing moment the boat he was in with his 15-year-old sister Brianna and their family friend Henry Wilson took on water.
“I was crying my eyes out like what's going to happen," said Scott.
Monday afternoon they were boating in the Atlantic to Margate to see the Lucy The Elephant landmark then continued to Atlantic City.
But Henry says a big commercial fishing boat stirred the water and sent a huge wave crashing into them.
"Brianna mentioned there's water coming in the back of the boat too because it was sitting so low in the water. I instructed them to get their life jackets on," said Henry after the boat took on water fast. He had to send out a mayday call.
"By the time the two kids were on the State Police boat I had to jump off my boat and watch it flip and capsize," he said.
"The seat I was sitting in basically floated off," said Brianna who was thinking like a typical teen when she stopped to grab a zip lock bag from the glove compartment. It had their cellphones and identification it.
"Then the boat started tipping and I was like there's nothing else to do so I jumped off and started swimming with the phones above my head," laughed Brianna.
Trooper Russell Ryan with the State Police Marine Unit arrived quickly.
"I reached over and grabbed the boy Scott. I pulled him on board and his sister was on the front of the boat. She was reaching for me for help but our hands were getting further and further apart because the boat was capsizing so I told her to jump off and swim to me," he said. Trooper Ryan says his day was complete hearing Scott say he felt safe when he saw him heading in their direction.
"Just being able to help them out is what we live for," said Trooper Ryan.