Passenger: Charter captain fired shots, did drugs, made threats during 12-hour trip
SARASOTA, Fla. (FOX 13) - A charter fishing trip off the coast of Sarasota turned into a nightmare for a group of dads and their sons.
According to one of the passengers, the owner of Double Nickel Charters, Captain Mark Bailey, drank alcohol, did drugs, made threats, and even fired shots during their 12 hours on the water Sunday.
"I've traveled to many, many countries, but this was the first time in my life I truly felt helpless, and out of control, and in fear of my life," said Christopher Giuffre, who was a passenger aboard the vessel named Double Marker.
Giuffre said it started around the time one of the 15-year-old passengers brushed shoulders with Bailey, who then became aggressive.
"Things just got very strange from that point on," said Giuffre, who went on to describe a scene that made those on board to fear for their lives. "[Bailey] verbally threatened our lives, that he was going to put a bullet in all of our heads and leave us out into the gulf and no one would find us."
A short while later, Giuffre said the situation became terrifying.
"There was six consecutive gunshots," said Giuffre. "We look up and the captain is shooting just above our heads."
Guiffre and his group told Sarasota Police Department investigators they were held hostage for about 12 hours. Around 1 a.m. Monday, Bailey eventually docked back at Marina Jacks.
Cell phone signal was spotty, but the group was able to alert their family, who was able to alert law enforcement about the chaos offshore.
"I'd never been so happy to see a police officer," said Giuffre.
Bailey was arrested and charged with boating under the influence and resisting an officer without violence. The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating the incident.