Coast Guard Rescues Man From Uninhabited Island

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station Borinquen hoisted a man to safety yesterday off the uninhabited island of Great Thatch, British Virgin Islands, after his friend reported him being overdue to the Coast Guard.

Paul Mason, 47, manager of a local Bar and Restaurant on Jost Van Dyke and resident of Tortola, British Virgin Islands was hoisted aboard a Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter. His friend, Gary Roy, notified the Coast Guard at approximately 6:20 p.m. Thursday that Mason was overdue, that he had left work on Wednesday at approximately 7 p.m. and he did not show up for work Thursday morning. He also reported that Mason traveled from home to work on an 11-foot Boston Whaler with one outboard engine, and that his boat was not moored in the usual location at Foxy’s Bar on Jost Van Dyke or Soper’s Hole Marina in Tortola.

Coast Guard controllers launched an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Borinquen, Puerto Rico, and British Virgin Islands Search and Rescue VISAR launched a marine unit to search for the overdue man. VISAR personnel visited Mason’s home in Tortola and were able to confirm that he was not home and that his truck still remained at Soper’s Hole Marina.

Using night vision goggles, the Coast Guard aircrew located Mason’s boat anchored near the uninhabited Island Thursday night. The helicopter crew located Mason ashore and hoisted him into the helicopter. Mason reported that he ran out of fuel and had anchored the boat, then he swam to Great Thatch Island. Mason was transported by the helicopter crew to the Tortola Hospital where they turned him over in good health to VISAR personnel at the scene.

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