By Cleve Bryan

STONE HARBOR, N.J., (CBS) — A man who went missing on a personal watercraft in Cape May County Tuesday has been found safe.

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The Coast Guard says 68-year-old Thomas Graham was located early Wednesday morning.

Graham was reported missing in the area of Stone Harbor Manor around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

“Well after he was gone an hour I started to worry should I be worried and when he didn’t come home in the next half hour I started to really worry,” says his wife Elaina.

Graham says he decided on a whim to take his WaveRunner out for a ride Tuesday afternoon before he planned to pull it out of the water for the winter.

“Great idea I’ll just go out for a spin and it turned into an adventure,” says Graham.

He says he turned off his engine while stopping to check out a pile of debris and when he tried to start it back up the battery failed.

Graham says the wind kept pushing him for miles out on the open water and when he grounded in the marsh the mud was too soupy to walk anywhere.

Despite rescue efforts coordinated between the Coast Guard and numerous local agencies no one could find Graham on Tuesday evening.

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He says he spent the night sitting on his WaveRunner shivering in just a t-shirt and life vest.

Elaina Graham, family and neighbors spent the night worried sick.

“I was praying, just kind of stressing but trying to keep it together. Actually I’m exhausted,” says Elaina Graham.

When the search resumed Wednesday morning an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Atlantic City spotted Graham waving his shirt.

“Not only there he is, he’s alive, he’s waving us down so it was excitement,” says flight mechanic James Caliendo.

A boat crew picked up Graham who refused going to the hospital, insisting all he needed was some coffee and a hot shower.

 

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