Coast Guard rescues woman in distress off San Juan

Coast Guard Station Port Canaveral 45-foot Response Boat-Medium file photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony L. Soto.

Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium file photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony L. Soto.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard and local responders recovered a deceased man after a Coast Guard off-duty petty officer rescued a woman Thursday evening in the ocean waters just off the San Felipe del Morro Castle in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The man and woman reportedly went into the water and were overtaken by the strong currents and breaking surf.

“Our most heartfelt condolences go out to the victim’s family and loved ones, we wish they find strength during this most difficult time,” said Chief Warrant Officer Eric A. Lyle, Coast Guard Station San Juan commanding officer. “I’d like to thank our local partners for their assistance and efforts in the recovery, while it’s not the outcome we strive for, working together on the recovery will hopefully allow the family to have some closure.”

A 911 operator initially reported the incident to Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan. Shortly thereafter, they received a call from an off-duty petty officer, who reported he was jogging in the area when he heard people yelling and witnessed two people in the water. He further relayed that he jumped in the water and rescued the woman, and that the man remained in the water face down and unresponsive. Coast Guard watchstanders directed Station San Juan to launch a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew to the scene.

Once on scene, the Coast Guard crew used a heaving line to retrieve two fire fighters who swam out to help recover the man. The boat station San Juan crew transported the two fire fighters and the man to Pier 7, where they were received by awaiting emergency responders. The man was declared deceased.

“This rescue was about being in the right place at the right time,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Scott Mochkatel, who is from Wahiawa, Hawaii, and is an aviation survival technician currently assigned to the Sector San Juan prevention department. “These waters are among the most dangerous in San Juan, and I’m thankful to the years of Coast Guard training that gave me the confidence to go in and help bring this woman to safety.

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