SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrews rescue five stranded kayakers in the U.S. Virgin Islands and a distressed snorkeler in Isabela, Puerto Rico, Saturday.
“Both these cases highlight how even a beautiful day can turn into a bad situation,” said Lt. William T. Cox, Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopter first pilot and acting pilot for the cases. “It’s very important that individuals pay close attention to the weather and sea state conditions and also wear appropriate safety equipment while engaged in water activities. In the end, everyone made it back safe and sound thanks to the coordination and quick response from local Emergency Services, Coast Guard watchstanders and our crew.”
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands rescue
Coast Guard Sector San Juan watchstanders received a 911 call Saturday afternoon from a the U.S. Virgin Islands reporting five stranded kayakers, four females and one male. The strong currents reportedly pushed the kayakers up on the rocks in the vicinity of Caret Point in St. Thomas. A bystander residing at Caret Bay Villas observed the incident and called 911.
A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin Short-Range Recovery Helicopter (SRR) from Air Station Borinquen launched to search for the kayakers. Shortly thereafter, the Coast Guard aircrew located the five persons stranded shoreside and deployed the aircraft rescue swimmer to assess their condition. The kayakers appeared to be in good health and were hoisted aboard the helicopter via a rescue basket and sling hoist. The kayakers were transported to the Cyril E. King Airport in St. Thomas, where they were assisted by awaiting Virgin Islands Police and Emergency Medical Service personnel.
Isabela, Puerto Rico rescue
Coast Guard Sector San Juan watchstanders received a 911 call at 9:34 a.m. Saturday reporting a woman being swept out to sea by the strong currents, while she was snorkeling and spearfishing just off Teodoro Beach in Isabela, Puerto Rico.
Watchstanders transmitted an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast to mariners and directed the launch of a Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65 rescue helicopter. Once on scene, the Coast Guard helicopter hovered over the beach area and the aircrew observed bystanders pointing to the location where the woman was last seen.
Shortly thereafter, the aircrew spotted the woman, who had drifted away from the position she was last seen. The Coast Guard aircrew deployed the helicopter’s rescue swimmer, who reached and secured the woman in a sling hoist. They were both hoisted approximately 15 feet above the water as the pilot maneuvered the aircraft shoreside, where the woman’s husband and awaiting Emergency Medical Service (EMS) personnel received and transported the survivor to a local hospital.
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