SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter rescued a distressed surfer Tuesday morning just off Wilderness Beach in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
The rescued surfer was reported to be a U.S. citizen on vacation in Puerto Rico.
The surfer was initially located by the crew of a Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen helicopter that was flying a training mission when they noticed the surfer had drifted significantly offshore and appeared to be in distress.
Shortly thereafter, Coast Guard watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan received a call from a 911 emergency dispatcher relaying a report from friends of the surfer who stated they lost sight of him after the currents had pulled their friend out to sea.
The Coast Guard helicopter crew returned to Air Station Borinquen to pick-up a rescue swimmer and immediately launched to reacquire the surfer. The Coast Guard helicopter arrived on scene with the surfer and deployed their rescue swimmer, who determined the surfer had sustained a shoulder injury and could not swim. The Coast Guard rescue crew hoisted the surfer onboard and transported him to Air Station Borinquen, where he was received by his friends.
“In this case, we got extremely lucky and just happened to fly right over the survivor and my crew had the intuition and experience to know that something did not seem right,” said Lt. j.g. Brian Acuna, Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65D helicopter pilot. “This case unfolded quickly and its success was bolstered by great team work between my helicopter crew, air station and Sector San Juan watchstanders, and the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser, who launched their small boat to recover the abandoned surf board. This was my second search and rescue case and it feels awesome to save another human life. This is why I joined the Coast Guard.”