Coast Guard rescues distressed snorkeler in the British Virgin Islands

.SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A Coast Guard helicopter crew rescued a distressed snorkeler Tuesday afternoon stranded on the uninhabited island of Fallen Jerusalem, British Virgin Islands.

The rescued snorkeler was a 38 year-old man, U.S. citizen, who reportedly went missing Monday afternoon while snorkeling with his brother to Blinder’s Rock, approximately 1,200 yards south of the island of Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan were notified of the incident at approximately 4:50 p.m. Tuesday by British Virgin Island’s Volunteer Search and Rescue (VISAR) personnel, who requested Coast Guard assistance.

Coast Guard Watchstanders in Sector San Juan provided VISAR personnel with drift data of the area and launched a Coast Guard Auxiliary fixed-wing aircraft to search.

At approximately 3:57p.m. Tuesday the crew of a VISAR vessel located the missing man stranded on Fallen Jerusalem Island, however, they could not reach the snorkeler on east side of the island due to the rocky shoreline and heavy surf conditions in the area.

Coast Guard Watchstanders in Sector San Juan proceeded to launch a Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter to recover the snorkeler.

The Coast Guard helicopter crew arrived on scene with the survivor and a local police officer, who had been transported by a VISAR vessel to the west side of the island to investigate and was able reach the snorkeler by land. The helicopter crew safely hoisted the snorkeler and police officer onboard and transported them to the Beef Island Airport in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. The snorkeler was then transferred to awaiting Emergency Medical Services personnel and transported to Peebles Hospital in Tortola to receive further medical care.

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