Right place, right time: Family rescues boaters from fire

- For Heather Whitmer and her daughter Mikaela, the sea is their second home and they know it comes with responsibilities.

"You try to help people on the water," she explained.  "That's what we do."

The family from Deerfield Beach was wrapping up a weekend visit on Longboat Key.  They decided to take their boat out one last time.

They made their way to Coquina Key something caught their eye.

"We saw just a little bit of white smoke trickling off of this boat," Mikaela recalled.

Mikaela's dad figured something was wrong.

"He put the hammer down and just hauled right over to it," she said.

By the time he got to the boat, they knew it was serious and time was a luxury.

"The white cloud was turning into a black cloud and flames were really starting to come out of the back of the boat.  These people were extremely scared," Heather continued.

The Whitmers pulled a family of four from Ruskin onto their boat. The two families crowded together on the Whitmers' boat and waited for help to arrive.

The rescued family thanked them over and over.

"The woman was in tears; she was calling us her angels," said Heather.

"It was just very heartwarming when we had everyone on the boat and they kept saying thank you," Mikaela said.

The rescued family said the Whitmer family  are heroes.  The Whitmers say they were just in the right place at the right time.

"I believe we were there for a reason," Heather added.

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