Former contestants on ABC’s ‘The Bachelorette’ were rescued after their boat sank Monday in San Diego, leaving them stranded in the water for more than three hours.
Aaron Schwartzman, Brayden Bowers, and three of their friends saw their boat completely sink some 17 miles off the coast while they were fishing.
The 10th and 11th place finishers on Charity Lawson’s season told KSWB that they were helpless and had nothing but hope left until they were discovered.
‘It’s like being trapped and helpless because there’s no service, we weren’t able to send a distress signal at all, and the only thing you have out there is hope, hope that somebody finds you, hope that a helicopter flies over,’ said Schwartzman.
Two men who were fishing for tuna eventually stumbled upon the group and pulled them aboard their own boat, towing them into land and safety.
‘We were looking for yellowfin tuna and then found a school of men,’ joked Chris Keeran, one of the two men who saved the group.
Former contestants on ‘The Bachelorette’ Brayden Bowers (in the life vest) and Aaron Schwartzman (far right) were saved after their boat sank off the San Diego coast
Aaron (left) and Brayden (right) talked with FOX 5 San Diego about the stunning save
Brayden (left) and Aaron (right) in a photo from Instagram
Aaron – the owner of the boat that sank – said the group was out for some casual fishing on the vessel before the issues began.
‘I finally bought the boat of my dreams, or so I thought, for it to sink on me,’ the reality TV contestant said to the San Diego outlet.
According to the men, the sinking occurred after one of their party members’ fishing line became entangled with the boat’s propeller.
‘My buddy Gavin, he got his line stuck on the engine propeller, so Aaron just went to the back of the boat to lift the engine up and try and untangle it,’ Bowers said.
‘All of a sudden, as soon as he stands on the swim deck … the boat literally just sunk,’ the travel nurse continued, describing the scary moment.
The five men out on the boat that day all work in first responder roles including the healthcare profession, military, and fire service.
Aaron, a firefighter, told KSWB that their experience in high-stress situations prepared them for the terrifying incident.
‘You think of the next steps, but what are the next steps when you’re 15 out into the ocean,’ Aaron said.
They linked arms and ‘tried to paddle to shore’ but were unsuccessful until Chris Keeran and his cousin TJ – also out fishing – noticed the wayward group in the water.
Aaron Schwartzman (left) and Brayden Bowers in promo photos for ‘Bachelor in Paradise’
Brayden and Aaron met while filming ‘The Bachelorette’ and have been friends since
Brayden (left) is seen on ‘The Bachelorette’ with Charity Lawson
Chris and TJ had been out on the water fishing for tuna when they saw something reflective in the water that caught their eye.
‘For whatever reason, we came to look to see if it was holding fish and that’s when we saw the guys in the water,’ TJ said.
The two said they had made choices that were unusual for them on that day, calling the finding in the water an act from above.
Despite that, they say they were just doing the right thing.
‘We don’t consider ourselves heroes; we’re doing whatever any other fisherman would consider doing,’ Keeran said.
‘I’m just so grateful by the grace of God, we actually did see something reflective,’ he continued.
‘Just the things that had to add up just to get to them. I mean, once we did find them, that was our best catch of the day,’ the fisherman told the outlet.
Aaron (pictured) is a firefighter in the San Diego area
Chris Keeran (left) and his cousin TJ were the ones who found the group in the water
Brayden (left) and Aaron (right) with former Bachelorette Katie Thurston
Aaron and Brayden are both set to appear on ABC’s upcoming season of ‘Bachelor in Paradise,’ which begins airing on September 28.
Aaron and Brayden met while filming Charity’s season of ‘The Bachelorette’ which aired earlier this year and ended with the therapist engaged to Dotun Olubeko.
During their season, Aaron and Brady gained notoriety for making it to week three and four respectively during the season.
Brayden – who has 25,000 followers on Instagram – became a standout for wearing flashy earrings and for voluntarily leaving the show during week four.
Both men are set to appear on ABC’s upcoming season of ‘Bachelor in Paradise,’ which begins airing on September 28.