An investigator revealed new details Monday about how seven people survived 20 hours stranded in stormy waters off the Florida Keys over the weekend.
MIAMI (CNN) -- An investigator revealed new details Monday about how seven people survived 20 hours stranded in stormy waters off the Florida Keys over the weekend.
Three women wearing life jackets clung to a cooler and took turns holding a 4-year-old, said Officer Robert Dube of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
"That definitely saved their lives," Dube told CNN Monday. "It could have been a lot of a worse situation."
While the women clung to the cooler, three men in the group gripped onto their capsized boat. A son tried to hold onto his 80-year-old mother, but she slipped away in the rough waters, Dube said.
The woman drowned before rescuers could reach her, the Coast Guard said Sunday.
The toddler was treated for mild hypothermia and exhaustion but was "in very good spirits," Dube said. Members of the group were also treated for multiple jellyfish stings, he said.
Authorities have not released the names of those involved in the incident.
The group's boat sank shortly after noon Saturday, the Coast Guard said in a statement Sunday. The Coast Guard's rescue occurred Sunday morning near Marathon, which is roughly halfway between Key Largo and Key West.
Ernie Perroncello, owner and Operator of Sea Tow in Marathon, Florida, said weather in the area Saturday was terrible.
"You can get yourself in trouble real quick (on the waters here)," said Perroncello, whose company salvaged the capsized boat.
CNN's Suzanne Malveaux and Dave Alsup contributed to this report.
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