Sisters caught in storm on paddleboards, reach shore after nearly 8 hours

Two Tennessee women left Tybee Island in Georgia on paddleboards, and almost eight hours later swam to shore on Hilton Head Island Tuesday.

(AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Kevin Taylor of Savannah, Ga., heads out to surf on the north beach of Tybee Island earlier this month. Two women from Tennessee left the island Tuesday and drifted for eight hours before reaching Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.

Two Tennessee women are safe after a storm blew their paddleboards from a Georgia island to a South Carolina island.

Twenty-seven-year-old Cayci Underwood and 21-year-old Summer Underwood set out from Tybee Island, Georgia, when they were caught by stormy weather and spent hours on the water Tuesday.

The Island Packet of Hilton Head reported that the two launched from the Tybee Island Marina at 12:30 p.m. and paddled past the Cockspur Island Lighthouse and were heading toward a sandbar to take a break when the wind picked up and the choppy water began rocking their boards, occasionally knocking the two into the water. Both were wearing life jackets.

"It took us away so fast, there was no getting back from it," Summer said.

The sisters lost each other. They were cold and battered and briefly alone.

They found each other again when the storm passed and the sky cleared.

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They worried that they would lose each other again, so the pair let one board go and paddled together.

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At was 7 p.m. when they finally sighted land again - off Hilton Head Island. They debated whether to abandon the board, but since the current was moving against them, they decided to swim to shore. It took 45 minutes to make it ashore, nearly 8 miles from where they started.

The Island Packet of Hilton Head reported that the half-sisters from Athens, Tennessee, were sunburned, scraped and exhausted by their eight-hour ordeal.

Summer Underwood said Wednesday that people on the beach helped them out of the water and told them where they were.

Both women were wearing life jackets.


Information from: The Island Packet,

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