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Coast Guard rescues missing diver in Lajas, Puerto Rico

Coast Guard rescues diver, MH-65 Dolphin Air Station Borinquen
A Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopter.
US Coast Guard Photo (archive).

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A multiagency search effort for a missing diver involving the Coast Guard and local agencies ended Thursday night after the crew of a Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine located and rescued the​ diver off a reef near La Parguera in Lajas, Puerto Rico.

Rescued is a 35 year-old man, who goes by the name of Peter Pan, after he went missing Thursday morning while diving a just off Media Luna Cay near La Parguera.

“The notification of the distress came into the Command Center several hours after the incident via a 911 call,” said Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Phipps, Sector San Juan Command Center supervisor. “If the mariner had access to a VHF Marine Band radio, he could have spoken directly to our watch personnel over Channel 16 and relayed information in real time.​ The diver was also wearing a​ blue colored​ diving shirt, which makes locating an individual in a sea of blue even more difficult.​ Wearing bright colors with retro reflective tape stand out and increase rescue assets ability to see an individual. ” said Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Phipps, Sector San Juan Command Center supervisor.

Wathstanders at Sector San Juan received a call relayed​ via​ the 911 Emergency Service​ at 1:15 p.m. Thursday from the operator of the dive boat who reported the man missing.

Watchstanders directed the launch of a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Borinquen an HC-144 Ocean Sentry fixed-wing aircraft and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos (WPC-1118)​ to the scene​ to search. They also notified Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid action, the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Bureau, and transmitted an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast to advise mariners in the area of the situation.

Coast Guard rescues diver, HC-144 Ocean Sentry
A Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crew takes off from Air Station Borinquen in Puerto Rico.
Coast Guard photo by Matt Udkow (archive).

The crew of the Puerto Rico Police marine unit transported the diver to land, where Emergency Medical Service personnel received and later released him.

The Joseph Tezanos is a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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