Fisherman holds on to friend for several hours before being forced to let go to survive

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CLEVELAND-- One of two fishermen was found alive on Lake Erie more than 16 nautical miles off shore and almost a full day after being reported missing.

Lester Hill, 56, an RTA Transit Police Officer since 1998 was found clinging to his boat Tuesday afternoon. According to Hill, friend and fellow fisherman, Larry Love, 56, a RTA station attendant since 2003 did not survive.

A Fox 8 camera rolled Tuesday afternoon during the emotional moment Hill's family learned he was rescued via helicopter.

"He's a survivor; if anybody can make it, if there's a way to make it he would be the one," said Janice Zak, Lester Hill's ex-wife. "We are just overjoyed, and thank God."

Family members say Love and Hill went fishing around 5:30 a.m. Monday. The pair was expected back by 7:30 p.m. but never showed up. Family members discovered their vehicle parked at an Edgewater Marina and reported the pair missing at 9:30 p.m.

"I was really worried I was going to lose my baby brother," said Hill's sister, Letha Meng. "I was just happy I wasn't going to lose somebody else."

According to the Coast Guard, the boat was hit with large waves and overturned. Both men were wearing life jackets that somehow came off.

The Coast Guard tells Fox 8 Hill stated his friend Love died around 5 a.m. He held on to him for three hours before being forced to let go in order to survive.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is now leading an ongoing recovery mission for Love.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.