Coast Guard rescues college student from rocky shoreline

Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Hernon, a Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay rescue swimmer, stands with Kris Nagel, a distressed surfer who was rescued by the Coast Guard when he was reportedly swept toward rocks near Moonstone Beach while he was surfing, Dec. 15, 2019. A Sector Humboldt Bay MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew was dispatched to the scene, hoisted Nagel into the helicopter and took him to California Redwood Coast - Humboldt County Airport where he was transferred to emergency medical services personnel. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay)

Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Hernon stands with Kris Nagel, a distressed surfer who was rescued by the Coast Guard when he was reportedly swept toward rocks near Moonstone Beach while he was surfing, Dec. 15, 2019. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay)

MCKINLEYVILLE, Calif. — The Coast Guard and a California State Park Lifeguard rescued a 20-year-old Humboldt State University student from being swept into a rocky shoreline near Moonstone Beach, Sunday afternoon.

At approximately 1:30 p.m., Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay received a 911-dispatch call reporting a surfer being swept toward a rocky shoreline due to a combination of rough seas and the surfer’s exhaustion.

Sector Humboldt Bay dispatched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew and issued an urgent marine information broadcast via VHF-FM channel 16.


The Dolphin crew arrived on-scene at approximately 2:00 p.m. and found California State Park Lifeguard, Keven Harder, was in the water and had established contact with the distressed surfer.

After it was determined that the swimmer was too fatigued to make it back to shore, Harder signaled the Dolphin crew to deploy their rescue swimmer to hoist the surfer. Once the surfer was hoisted, the Dolphin crew remained on scene until Harder was able to swim back to the beach.

The fatigued surfer, Kris Nagel, was taken to the California Redwood Coast – Humboldt County Airport and transferred to emergency medical services personnel who evaluated and released him.

“The success of today’s rescue can be directly traced to partnership and cooperation among first-response agencies,” said Lt. Thomas Cogley, the pilot in command of the Dolphin helicopter crew. “Despite the challenging conditions of breaking surf and underwater rocks, our regular training with the California State Park Lifeguards made the handoff from the lifeguard to the Coast Guard rescue swimmer seamless and expeditious.”


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