SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of a Coast Guard rescue helicopter recovered Monday the body of a surfer just off Maria Beach in Rincon, Puerto Rico.
The deceased surfer reportedly is a 68-year-old man, U.S. citizen and resident of “La Cambija,” Rincon.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan received a call from 911 emergency services and the National Coast Guard Command Center reporting a surfer in distress and requesting the assistance of a rescue helicopter.
Coast Guard watchstanders proceeded to divert a Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopter to locate and recover the surfer.
Upon the arriving on scene, the Coast Guard helicopter crew found the surfer to be unresponsive and receiving assistance from a group of people in the water as the helicopter moved into position. The crew of the Dolphin helicopter lowered their rescue swimmer, recovered the man’s body and conducted cardiopulmonary resuscitation while en route to Air Station Borinquen, where he was transferred to awaiting Emergency Medical Service personnel. The surfer was transported to “El Buen Samaritano Hospital,” where he was pronounced deceased.
“Our most heartfelt condolences go out to the friends and family of this man during this difficult time,” said Capt. Robert Warren, Coast Guard Sector San Juan commander. “The Coast Guard also reminds those conducting water activities throughout the week to exercise extreme caution and pay close attention to National Weather Service advisories until weather conditions normalize.”
The National Weather Service has published high surf and small craft advisories for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This will result in strong currents that can carry even the best swimmers out to sea and very dangerous surf conditions in the north and east coast beaches of Puerto Rico, Culebra, and St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
A rip current is a powerful channel of water that flows quickly away from shore. They often occur at low spots or breaks in the sandbar. Any object or person caught in a rip current can be pulled out into deeper seas.
If you become caught in a rip current, do not panic. The way to escape a rip current is to swim parallel to the shore. Once you are away from the force of the rip current, begin to swim back to the beach. Do not attempt to swim directly against the current, as you can become easily exhausted, even if you are a strong swimmer.
A Small Craft Advisory means that winds of 22 to 33 knots and/or seas of 7-feet and greater are expected to produce hazardous marine conditions for small craft. Inexperienced mariners expecially those operating smaller vessel should avoid navigating in these conditions.
For the latest weather advisories for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands visit: National Weather Service online site.