New Bern man was on his boat when Hurricane Florence hit

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NEW BERN, N.C. -- A New Bern man is sharing his story of survival with Fox8.

James Baker’s boat is docked here at the Bridge Pointe Marina. He says he ran out of options to get it out of here as the Hurricane Florence came in, so he stayed on.

As Florence pounded the city of New Bern and the Neuse River swelled around his boat, he says he saw the finger dock break and his line snapped off.

“The bow was bucking up and down so hard that at times when I got out there to try to secure some lines and look over to see that my bow lines had been shredded, it was actually flipping me in the air. I’d land, hang on to the railing and go back inside,” Baker says.

Baker says he felt he had two choices: stay on the boat and sink, or jump to the deck and risk being swept away. He jumped.

“The deck was twisting and turning and heaving up and down, and I could see the stainless steel screws from the deck sticking up out of the deck, that was like spikes sticking up, and I had to avoid that. Meanwhile I had this flash light and I was trying to negotiate pitch black.”

Baker ended up on a nearby sailboat where he stayed until the water receded. He tells us he used his flashed morse code to try to get help. The marina owner says no one knew he was out there until then, but they couldn’t get to him.

“I just prayed. I prayed all night that I could see the light of day and I just hung in there,” Baker says.

If he had to do it again, he says he’d leave the boat.

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