Brayden Bowers
(ABC/Ricky Middlesworth)

Bachelorette Stars Brayden Bowers and Aaron Schwartzmann Stranded on Fishing Boat

Brayden Bowers and Aaron Schwartzmann found themselves in some trouble over the past couple of days, but not the kind of trouble one might expect. The pair gained notoriety when they appeared on Charity Lawson’s season of The Bachelorette. But Brayden and Aaron weren’t leaving anyone high and dry this time. Instead, they were stuck in the water for over three hours.

Aaron’s boat unexpectedly sank

WCIA first reported on the situation. Aaron said “the boat of his dreams” betrayed him. “It’s like being trapped and helpless because there’s no service, we weren’t able to send a distress signal at all, and the only thing you have out there is hope, hope that somebody finds you, hope that a helicopter flies over.”

In Brayden’s account, he shared, “My buddy Gavin, he got his line stuck on the engine propeller, so Aaron just went to the back of the boat to lift the engine up and try and untangle it … all of a sudden, as soon as he stands on the swim deck … the boat literally just sunk.”

Aaron, Brayden, and their friends were stranded 15 miles into the ocean. They linked arms and began kicking, but were stuck “in a wind swell” according to Aaron. When hope felt lost, another boat came by. The boat’s owners, Chris Keeran and his cousin TJ, were looking to catch some tuna, but “found a school of men … that was our best catch of the day,” Keeran said.

Aaron and Brayden reflect on life

Brayden and Aaron also spoke with PEOPLE after the ordeal, commenting on just how surreal it was to be back to the day-to-day after the experience. “We don’t expect the worst to happen,” Brayden said. “We expect our cars to work, we expect that we will stay healthy, we expect our boats to float. But what happens when that normalcy bias is shattered?”

He continued, “I feel like I’m living disassociated with the world around me … I’ve had several moments where I just break down.” Aaron, meanwhile, shared a quote from his father: “Don’t love something that will never love you back.” He reflected on the boat and the people in his life.

“The boat is gone, and that means nothing. I still have the people that I love. It’s not what you have in life, it’s WHO you have in life. My friends that I hold closest are still here and that is all I’ll ever need. Material things … can always be purchased, but your best friends cannot.”