Rob Konrad's amazing 27 mile swim to safety

'I shouldn't be here' -- former NFL fullback Rob Konrad talks about his 16-hour swim to shore


He was taking his boat for servicing last Wednesday and decided to do a little fishing along the way. He had caught a large fish and was tending to the rod when a large wave hit, flipping Konrad into the ocean. His boat was on autopilot and headed east. There were no other boats in sight. Konrad wasn't wearing a life preserver. It was 12:30 p.m. "I realized I was in some real trouble," he said. Konrad quickly decided to swim toward shore, although he figured the trip would take more than 10 hours, and feared succumbing to hypothermia or cramps after two or three hours. The ocean temperature was in the low 70s — far from frigid, but a lot colder than his body temperature. So Konrad decided he'd better keep moving. He took off his shirt and began alternating between a breaststroke and backstroke. He said he's not much of a swimmer, but Nyad figures his football experience made a big difference. "We're not really talking about a swimming story. We're talking about a survival story," Nyad said. "I'm sure his background as an athlete — toughness, having resolve, knowing things are going to be painful — were the saving grace for him." Konrad said he got bit "by a whole bunch of stuff." A shark circled before moved along. "There was a lot of stuff glowing at night, probably some jellyfish," he said. He could also see lights along the coast and pick out landmarks. As he tired, he gained emotional strength. "Five or six hours in I realized, 'Maybe I can do this,'" he said. Twice he was nearly rescued. A recreational fishing boat approached to within 50 yards, but Konrad couldn't flag it down. Then a Coast Guard helicopter searching for him flew overhead. "They had their lights on me and kept going. They didn't see me. That was a difficult time." But the ex-Dolphin kept swimming, thinking of his daughters, ages 8 and 10. "He had two angels on his back," his wife said. "I was probably pretty delirious at the time, but I could see the lights getting closer and closer," he said. Then the sound of the ocean changed. He could hear waves hitting the shore, and finally he reached land as well. "The problem was I couldn't walk. My body was shaking uncontrollably. I crawled up on the beach and warmed myself up enough to be able to walk." Paramedics were summoned, and soon he was en route to the hospital. His boat was found near Grand Bahama Island on Deadman's Reef, the irony of the name not lost on Konrad. He had gone the other way.
Comment: Image capture from the New York Daily News.  More here and here.

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