Coast Guard rescues man off Saddlebunch Key

Coast Guard Air Station Miami MH-65 Dolphin helicopter file photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Pierce

Coast Guard Air Station Miami MH-65 Dolphin helicopter file photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Pierce

MIAMI — Coast Guard Station Key West and Air Station Miami crews rescued a 50-year-old man, Friday, in the vicinity of American Shoal Light.

An Air Station Miami MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew reported finding the vessel anchored near American Shoal Light, but no one aboard. Approximately 3 miles north of the boat, at about 12:30 a.m. Friday, the aircrew located a person in the water and directed a Station Key West boat crew to the position.

The person was reported to be cold and was brought to Sector Key West to be evaluated by awaiting emergency medical services. The man reported he surfaced from a dive and couldn’t find his boat, and he was drifting in the water for about 10 hours before rescue crews found him.

The man’s wife called Sector Key West watchstanders at approximately 10 p.m. Thursday reporting her husband was in a 20-foot vessel and left from Cudjoe Key to American Shoal Light to dive, but didn’t come home. Key West watchstanders directed the launch of the Dolphin aircrew and the Station Key West boat crew. During the search, the man’s wife was able to give watchstanders a more accurate position by tracking her husband’s phone.

“The man was wearing a strobe light, which allowed our aircrews to find him,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Paul Altieri, communications watchstander, Sector Key West. “We’d like to remind divers to always dive with a buddy and ensure the dive flag is posted.”

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