Coast Guard aircrew rescues stranded swimmer on “Isla de Culebrita,” Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew from Air Station Borinquen, Puerto Rico, rescued a 27 year-old woman stranded on the rocks of Isla de Culebrita, Puerto Rico Thursday morning.

The survivor is Lynsey Hoffman, a resident of Maryland, who was on vacation with her friends in Puerto Rico, and reportedly swam from Zoni Beach on Culebra Island, Puerto Rico to Cayo Norte, then she swam to Cayo Botella, before finally swimming to Isla de Culebrita. Exhausted and unable to make the trip back to Zoni Beach due to nightfall, Hoffman ended up stranded on the rocks and decided she would spend the night.

Coast Guard Search and Rescue Coordinators at Sector San Juan received initial notification of the incident from Culebra Island Police at approximately 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night, who reported a woman attempted to swim from Zoni Beach to Cayo Norte at approximately 3:30 p.m. Wednesday and had not yet returned.

The helicopter aircrew were able to locate the survivor as she waived her arms for assistance at 1:15 a.m. Thursday. The Coast Guard helicopter crew deployed their rescue swimmer and safely hoisted Hoffman aboard the aircraft.

The Coast Guard helicopter crew transported Hoffman to awaiting EMS at the Culebra Airport, where she was treated for minor injuries and was then released to her friends.

“This case demonstrates how important it is to let people know what you are doing when involved with any type of water related activity,” said Cmdr. Orin Rush, operations officer, Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen. “Having informed a friend of the intended route and how long she would be swimming, allowed for a quicker and more accurate response from the United States Coast Guard. Please remember to always file a float plan and notify friends and family of your anticipated time of return.”

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