SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard is calling Monday for swimmers to stop diving into the water from the former sugar pier facility in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
The safety warning comes after a Coast Guard rescue helicopter hoisted one of two men who sustained serious injuries after diving from the industrial structure Sunday afternoon.
The men reportedly dove into the water from an altitude of approximately 100-feet. One of the men injured his back and resurfaced immobile from the water, while the other man was able to reach shore and receive medical assistance from Emergency Medical Service personnel on scene.
“People diving into the water from the sugar pier in Aguadilla are putting their lives at risk,” said Capt. Robert Warren, commander of U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan. “This is an unsafe and dangerous practice that will only continue to generate more victims, who could suffer from broken bones, paralysis or even death.”
Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan received a call from a 911 Emergency operator, reporting the incident to the Coast Guard as it was relayed by a Ranger from the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources Aguadilla Maritime Unit on scene. The reporting source requested Coast Guard air support to remove the immobilized person from the pier.
A helicopter and rescue crew was launched from Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen in Aguadilla to provide rescue assistance.
Upon arriving on scene, the crew of the first Coast Guard helicopter deployed their rescue swimmer, who with the assistance of EMS personnel stabilized and secured the man on the aircraft litter. The man was hoisted onboard the helicopter and transported to the “Centro Medico” Hospital in Aguadilla to receive further medical care.
Puerto Rico and Aguadilla Municipality Emergency Management personnel, a Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action FURA marine unit, and rangers from the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources Aguadilla Maritime Unit in Aguadilla also responded.