Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen rescues 2 fishermen 14 nautical miles south of Saint Thomas

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico − A rescue helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico hoisted two U.S. Virgin Islands fishermen to safety Monday morning, approximately 14 nautical miles south of Saint Thomas.

The two fishermen reportedly went out on a fishing trip Sunday morning from Coki Bay in Saint Thomas and became adrift after their dinghy ran out of fuel during their return.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan were contacted by Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management personnel in Saint Thomas Sunday night who reported the incident. Watchstanders proceeded to divert a patrolling HC-144 Ocean Sentry maritime patrol aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Miami to begin the search. The Coast Guard aircrew located the fishermen at 1:57a.m. Monday, aboard their 12-foot dinghy waving their arms for assistance.

The HC-144 Ocean Sentry crew dropped a radio package, that was recovered by the fishermen, and confirmed their identities upon establishing communications. Shortly thereafter, the Coast Guard rescue helicopter arrived on scene and deployed their rescue swimmer to assess the situation and hoist the fishermen to safety.

The survivors were transported to the Cyril E. King airport in Saint Thomas, where they were transferred to awaiting Emergency Medical Service personnel.

“The primary reasons that this case was so successful were that the survivors stayed with their vessel, and also had the required safety equipment on board,” said Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Lampe, Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircraft commander. “Our helicopter crew was able to spot the boat from a distance of nearly eight nautical miles because of a simple strobe light, and the hoisting evolution went very smoothly because both men were wearing their life jackets.”

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