Coast Guard and Puerto Rico Police rescue distressed diver and dive boat operator

An aircrew with Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen, Puerto Rico, hoists a 61-year-old Michel Salan from his sailing vessel approximately 200 miles northeast of Puerto Rico Nov. 4, 2013. Salan, a Canadian national, was originally located by the crew of the Liberian flagged bulk carrier AS Vincentia more than 400 nautical miles northeast of Puerto Rico. (Photo courtesy/AS Vincentia)

Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen rescue file photo.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and a Puerto Rico Police marine unit rescued two men, a distressed diver and the operator of a disabled dive boat, Wednesday afternoon, approximately two nautical miles off the coast of “Punta Borinquen” in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

After resurfacing, the diver reportedly struggled in rough seas to swim back to the 21-foot-disabled dive boat and began drifting drift away from the vessel.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan received communication from a 9-1-1 emergency dispatcher relaying the distress call from the operator of the dive boat who reported the incident.

Coast Guard watchstanders immediately launched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen to search for the diver, while a Puerto Rico Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine unit also responded.

Upon arriving on scene, the crew of the Coast Guard helicopter spotted the diver attached to his dive buoy as he waved for assistance. The helicopter’s rescue swimmer was deployed from the aircraft to recover the diver who was safely hoisted onboard.

Shortly thereafter, the Puerto Rico Police marine unit arrived on scene and embarked the operator from the disabled dive boat.

“Today’s rescue highlights why it is so important to use the proper dive markers when diving offshore,” said Lt. Jason Carrillo, Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircraft commander. “In this case, the diver’s orange buoy proved to be the only way we were able to spot him in the rough seas. Had he not been attached to it, we may never have seen him. It certainly saved his life.”

The diver was transported to Air Station Borinquen in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, where he was released.

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