Coast Guard assists in the rescue of two missing divers near Block Island

Northeast Atlantic Coast Guard NewsBLOCK ISLAND, R.I., – The Coast Guard rescued two missing divers after they were spotted drifting at the surface by the crew of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessel Thomas Jefferson, four miles southwest of Block Island, at about 10 a.m., Sunday.

The fishing vessel Captain Ron came upon a diver in the water who reported that the two friends he was diving with were missing. The operator of the Captain Ron notified the Coast Guard at 9:14 a.m., of the two missing divers. The Coast Guard immediately sent out a radio broadcast notifying mariners of the missing divers and launched rescue boats from Coast Guard stations Montauk, N.Y., Point Judith, R.I., and Block Island, R.I.

The NOAA vessel Thomas Jefferson was in the area, heard the broadcast, and began searching for the two divers. Shortly after 10 a.m., members aboard the Thomas Jefferson spotted the two missing men, Jason Williams and Dustin Ricci, and notified the Coast Guard. The Thomas Jefferson then guided the 27-foot rescue boat from Station Block Island to Williams and Ricci, where they were recovered and brought to Block Island. The two men were in good health and did not require medical attention.

Coast Guard Lt. Chris Billiau, the Command Duty Officer at Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound in New Haven, Conn., said “This is a great example of partner agencies working together as a team to rescue the two missing divers. Having the assistance of the NOAA vessel Thomas Jefferson allowed us to have more eyes on the water searching for these two men, and as a result we were able to get the divers back to shore safely.”

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