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A Florida woman's dramatic survival at sea

Here's a dramatic story of survival at sea. A woman forced to fend for herself for 13 hours off the Florida coast, before being rescued.

Dora Steed has a simple message of survival. "Stay calm, stay focused, and try to figure out a game plan."

For 13 hours she was separated from her husband Larry while diving for scallops in the Gulf of Mexico over 4th of July weekend. "I look around, and there are no other boats around, it's thundering, and the skies are dark."

Hurricane Arthur, whipping up the seas, had pushed the couples boat a half mile away. Larry chased after it. "I heard him yell my name and screaming my name. Then I noticed the boat turned, and head off away from me completely gone. And I'm left totally alone out there in the water."

Larry Steed told 911 operators once he recovered the boat, Dora was nowhere to be found. "I went back to where I thought we were and I cannot find her!"

Throughout the 911 call, you can hear his frantic search, but it was too late.

Dora said, "Sky's completely black, thundering, lighting, pouring down. Waves were just coming over my head splashing in your face, and the waves and tide coming against me."

Search teams were driven back by the chaotic seas. "That was the worst part. Watching them all leave."

Her salvation came when she found a PVC pipe sticking up in the water. "I just put my hands on the pole and just clung to it until the storm got better."

As daylight broke, Dora spotted a search boat. "I'm determined this man is coming, even if I have to walk right up to the boat."

Larry was relieved after his night of worry and anguish, he said "Don't ever do that again, and he was sobbing."
Dora looked up at him and said, "Do it to you?! You left me out there!" (Laughs) "He was just very upset."

A true survivor, Dora says she never doubted her fate. "I never felt alone, even though I was totally alone in pitch black sitting out there in the middle of a storm. But I never felt alone."