Coast Guard aircrew rescues boater just off La Parguera, Puerto Rico

MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter file photo

Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter file photo

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of a Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter rescued a Belgian boater Tuesday evening from the sailing vessel Efdhia after the vessel ran aground, approximately three nautical miles southwest of La Parguera in Lajas, Puerto Rico.

The rescued man was the sole person aboard 32-foot sailing vessel on a voyage from the island of St. Martin to the Dominican Republic.

Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan received a VHF distress communication on Channel 16 from the rescued boater, who reported the vessel was not taking on water and that he sustained no injuries. Watchstanders directed the launch of a Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Borinquen, while a Puerto Rico Joint Force of Rapid Action marine unit also responded.

Once on scene, the Coast Guard aircrew hoisted the boater aboard the aircraft and transported him to Air Station Borinquen, where awaiting Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations personnel assisted the boater with immigration related processing.

“This case was quick and easy to process thanks to the mariner having the proper survival equipment onboard his vessel including VHF radio, EPIRB, and life vests,” said Lt. Vincent P. Lewandowski, MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter aircraft co-pilot for the case. “There are many dangers encountered at sea and being prepared is the only way to mitigate these hazards. The mariner contacted rescue assets quickly once he found himself in distress, which allowed our asset to get on scene before sunset and successfully execute the mission. It’s always a good feeling to have a case with a happy ending.”

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