COSTA RICA (WVLT/WTVF/AP) -- An orange University of Tennessee shirt and a life jacket helped saved the lives of some Tennessee coaches and students after a boat capsized in Costa Rica while on a fishing excursion.
Students and faculty from Brentwood Academy were reportedly on a boat that capsized in Costa Rica, WTVF reported.
Jennifer Smith, a spokesperson for the school, said two students and two faculty members were on board when the incident happened.
While out on the boat, football players Garrett Crouch and Ethan Oesterle and coaches Chandler Ganick and Jimmy Ker got into some trouble.
"Waves I would say got up to 14 to 15 feet at some times. We were jumping the boat completely out of the water," Crouch said in an interview with WTVF. "The captain made the decision that probably saved our lives, told us to put life jackets on about 10 minutes before the boat sank."
The group said a large wave engulfed the boat miles away from a surfing village called Tamarindo.
"For a couple minutes when the waves really got bad, it was hard to keep my head above the water," Oesterle said, "Me personally as soon as I got in the water my contacts fell out and I’m blind as a bat, so I was just seeing colors and tan and I was like I’m going that way."
The group said they were in the water for about two-and-a-half hours until Crouch was spotted by a group on another fishing charger.
"What actually happened was I was wearing a Tennessee shirt, an orange Tennessee shirt, and the man’s wife was looking over the ocean and she’s like, 'There’s something over there that’s orange on the horizon,' and they were like, 'That’s a person in the water!'" Crouch said.
They said the captain of the other charter rescued Crouch and called for help then contacted the Coast Guard and the U.S. Embassy. Crouch said one of his rescuers was wearing a Vanderbilt hat, and the group laughed about the Nashville connection.
"The Tennessee shirt saved my life honestly," Crouch said.
Despite the ordeal, WTVF reported that the group got back out on a boat the next day.
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