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I helped Alan take off his socks and shoes and pushed him up with one hand while holding on with the other,' said Connellan.'But that left nobody to help me and I just didn't have the strength to do it by myself.
After a while I came to terms with the fact I couldn't get up there.'Rather than wasting my energy pulling myself up, I needed to preserve my strength to hang on to the branch.'The three survivors were just 200 yards from a freeway but as the hours began to tick by and a police helicopter flew overhead without spotting them, their hopes of a quick rescue began to fade.
I was the most relieved I've ever been in my life.'I didn't have any strength left to climb up so they dragged me into the boat. I just kept saying thank you to the state trooper for pulling me out.' Butterfield (left) and Connellan were swept away into the swollen and fast moving Greens Bayou and desperately clung to branches and trees as they fought the current for 18 hours waiting to be rescued The two men were rushed to the hospital after their am rescue where Connellan was treated for head to toe burns and lacerations to his hands.
Butterfield was treated for his injured shoulder, burns and various cuts and bruises. Their joy at being reunited was tempered by the knowledge that two of the boat's other occupants, 33-year-old Jorge Perez, a married father-of-two, and 25-year-old Yahir Vizueth, both drowned.
'I looked over and saw sparks coming from the wires and the transformers,' said Butterfield, a father-of-two. 'I leapt off the bow of the boat and the current took me right under the wires, they were a few feet above me.'But a few hours later I hear something - a reply.'Someone was shouting back at me.Within half an hour we saw their boat come round the corner.Two more men, Benjamin Vizueth, 31 and Gustavo Rodriguez-Hernandez, 40, are still missing.'These men were just trying to help people in need,' added Butterfield.'My heart goes out to their loved ones and I just hope the missing guys are found.'Said a spokesperson for Daily Mail.com: 'We are actively working with local authorities to determine the whereabouts of the other occupants of the boat.'Our thoughts and prayers are with our reporting team and their families but especially with the families of the search party.'‘We stopped the car at an off-ramp because the water was high and we saw a group of men with a boat who said they were going to rescue an elderly relative in a wheelchair and one of her neighbors,' explained Butterfield from his hospital bed.‘It was an older motorboat, about 17ft, had an open bow and was towing a dinghy.