Coast Guard rescues 2 divers, 1 minor during unrelated cases in Puerto Rico

Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65 helicopter

Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65 helicopter file photo

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews rescued two divers and a minor during two unrelated cases Thursday in Fajardo and Vieques, Puerto Rico.

The first rescue came when Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan received a 911 call Thursday afternoon reporting four children and two adults had been pulled away from shore by strong currents at “Playa Escondida” in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. The crew of a Coast Guard helicopter diverted to the scene, located the people in distress and deployed their rescue swimmer to hoist one of the children from the water. The Coast Guard aircrew safely transferred the minor to shore, and confirmed that the other five people were able to swim safely to shore.

The second rescue also came following a 911 call to Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan Thursday afternoon. During the call, the occupants of a dive boat reported losing site of the dive area where two men were actively diving after their 18-foot sport fisher became disabled, approximately four nautical miles northeast of Vieques, Puerto Rico.

Watchstanders launched a Coast Guard MH-65 helicopter to search for the divers and alerted Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces for Rapid Action who responded and joined the search with a marine unit. Upon arriving on scene, the crew of the Coast Guard helicopter was able to locate the divers, approximately two miles northeast of Vieques. The Coast Guard aircrew deployed their rescue swimmer who remained on scene with the divers, equipped with a radio, lights, an EPIRB and a life raft, while the helicopter returned to refuel. Shortly thereafter, a second Coast Guard helicopter arrived on scene and recovered the two divers, while the first helicopter crew, returned from refueling and recovered their rescue swimmer. The rescued divers were transported to Ceiba, Puerto Rico, where they were received and evaluated by awaiting Emergency Medical Service personnel. Meanwhile, the occupants of the disabled dive boat where able to conduct repairs at sea and return to shore.

“Three lives were saved in these dynamic cases as a result of the great coordination between the Coast Guard, Puerto Rico Police, 911 and those who reported the distress situations in a timely manner,” said Lt. j.g. Efrain Rosa, Coast Guard Sector San Juan Rescue operational controller. “We are glad our crews were able to help the divers and minor return safely to their families.”

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