Local fisherman Josef Pfaffenbichler was rescued a second time after getting stranded on the water, and his wife says she's had enough.
"I'm putting my foot down," she said Wednesday after her husband, an avid fisherman, survived a chilly night stuck near the Cooper River.
Pfaffenbichler, 68, of North Charleston, was admitted to a local hospital suffering from dehydration and exposure, his family said. Rescuers found him Wednesday morning stranded in Clouter Creek
near the Don Holt Bridge. It had been about 24 hours since he left home.
It was the second time in three years that he had to be rescued after a night alone. In May 2004, he was plucked from knee-deep pluff mud where he became stuck during a fishing trip near Bull's Bay.
Margie Pfaffenbichler was overjoyed to see her husband alive Wednesday, but she said she told him "this is ridiculous." She is never letting her husband go fishing alone again or venture out on the water without a cell phone in hand, she said.
Pfaffenbichler's ordeal began Tuesday when he set out from the North Charleston Fishing Club around 9 a.m. He planned to chase spottail bass on his 14-foot white fiberglass skiff. But when he didn't return that afternoon, his wife called authorities to report him overdue. Air and sea units from the Coast Guard launched a search, while other local rescue units and friends joined in.
Pfaffenbichler's daughter, Paula Stone, said her dad's boat apparently got stuck in muddy water and the tide began to fall. He tried to catch his rescuers' attention, even waving his arms, but was unsuccessful. He survived the estimated 44-degree night wearing only a long-sleeved shirt, pants and a life preserver.
A Department of Natural Resources aircraft spotted Pfaffenbichler in a marsh on Clouter Creek at 9:23 a.m. He also suffered from insect bites and sunburn, said Stone, who offered her thanks to the numerous rescuers who helped in the search, including Robert Mack of the Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy.
In Pfaffenbichler's previous rescue, searchers found him stuck up to his knees in mud near the Intracoastal Waterway. He had taken a nap that night and when he woke up, his boat was held up in low water. His legs became trapped as he tried to push his boat toward the deep.