Armed Florida Boat Captain Held Passengers Captive During Terrifying Fishing Trip Turned Nightmare

What had been intended as an enjoyable fishing trip for Carlo Lopeparo, his family and friends, morphed into a terrifying hostage situation Sunday after the captain of their charter ship became drunk and violent, threatening to shoot his clients and assaulting one of the passengers.

According to the Sarasota Herald Tribune, charter ship captain Mark Bailey, 36, has been charged with boating under the influence and resisting arrest following a nightmare fishing trip he led in the Gulf of Mexico. His passengers described the incident as "a real-life hostage situation."

Lopeparo, from Bradenton, Florida said the first half of the $2,000 fishing trip went according to plan but seven hours in, Bailey became increasingly drunk, disorderly belligerent. The clients reported seeing the captain snorting cocaine and smoking marijuana before firing several shots from the upper deck.

According to the police report on the incident the captain told the passengers."I have a 9 mm and if I want, I will put a bullet in each of your heads and leave you out here."

Gulf of Mexico
Illustrative: Mark Bailey, 36, has been charged with boating under the influence and resisting arrest following a nightmare fishing trip STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

Bailey, a Sarasota local, grabbed Jason Rialmo Jr., 15, the son of one of the five passengers, Jason Rialmo, 39. Rialmo Jr. reportedly misunderstood whether he was allowed to take a beer from a pail on the second deck. As a rebuke to the teenager, the captain followed the boy down a ladder and pulled on him by a chain necklace he was wearing. The jewelry broke as a result.

A confrontation followed with Lopeparo, 35, the boy's uncle, yelling and screaming at the captain. Bailey agreed to leave Rialmo Jr., alone but seethed as the journey continued.

Christopher Giuffre, 53 and one of the passengers, explained he saw the captain drinking heavily, knocking back rum and beer. It was Giuffre who also said he saw Bailey taking cocaine and smoking marijuana.

The fishing expedition continued but the mood was reportedly "awful." The passengers asked Bailey to turn the ship back five hours before the trip was scheduled to end. It was on the return journey that Bailey reportedly fired six or seven shots into the water.

Then, for five hours, from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., Bailey just circled offshore. The captain continued to drink heavily throughout. He only agreed to return to dock after being paid $2,000 — $1,600 for the trip and a $400 tip to the first mate. Even after he was paid it took him two and half hours to make it into shore.

Giuffre Jr. told the Herald Tribune of the impossible situation the passengers encountered as they considered overpowering Bailey. However, they deemed it too risky. "He clearly has the gun within arm's reach of him," the 23-year-old said. "It was the most helpless situation that I could imagine to be in. Everyone was just helpless—a real-life hostage situation."

The irony that money they paid as used for Bailey's bail was not lost on the group. "He took our $1,600 we paid him to put us in this hostage situation," Giuffre Jr. said. "And we paid for his freedom."