Coast Guard, good Samaritans rescue two divers in Port Royal Sound

Coast Guard Air Station Savannah MH-65 file photo

Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter file photo.

CHARLESTON, S.C. — The Coast Guard along with partner agencies and good Samaritans rescued two overdue divers in Port Royal Sound, Friday.

Rescued was Allen Devier, 49, and Jimmy Armstrong, 66.

At 1:31 a.m., a Coast Guard Air Station Savannah MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew located, hoisted and transported Armstrong to Savannah Memorial Hospital.  At 7:54 a.m. good Samaritans aboard a charter fishing vessel located Devier on the southern portion of Parris Island.

At 12:20 a.m., Coast Guard Sector Charleston command center watchstanders received a request for helicopter assistance from Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) for two overdue divers. The wife of Devier stated that he had not returned at 9 p.m. as intended. BCSO conducted a cell phone exigent request that provided positional information approximately 2 miles east of Hilton Head.

An Air Station Savannah MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew launched to assist. Once on scene, the Dolphin crew located a 17-foot unmanned center console. Shortly after, the Dolphin crew located Armstrong less than a mile from the vessel and safely hoisted him as BCSO was unable to reach him due to water depth.

The Dolphin crew returned to the scene and dropped a self-locating datum marker buoy to aid in the search. A Coast Guard Station Tybee Island 29-foot Response Boat-Small crew launched to assist in the search alongside South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) and BCSO.

The Dolphin crew completed searches and returned to Air Station Savannah due to fatigue limits. The RBS crew, SCDNR, and Beaufort County Marine Rescue continued to search.

At 7:54 a.m., a charter fishing vessel was departing Beaufort and located Devier in safe condition. The vessel’s crew embarked Devier and transferred him to Beaufort County Marine Rescue where he was transported to the Edgar Glenn Boat Ramp in good condition.

“The quick thinking and thorough response from our watchstanders, search and rescue units, state and local partners and volunteers made the difference in locating both of the divers safely,” said Lt. Cmdr. Christie Connell, an Assistant Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator with Sector Charleston. “This challenging case that resulted in a positive outcome is a reminder that anything can happen on the water and it is vital to be prepared for any emergency that may arise.”

Involved in the search were:

  • Coast Guard Sector Charleston
  • Coast Guard Air Station Savannah
  • Coast Guard Station Tybee Island
  • South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
  • Beaufort County Sherrif’s Office
  • Beaufort County Marine Rescue
  • Tim Deckard, Cast Away Fishing Charters

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