Coast Guard small boat crew rescues stranded divers in high winds off Ewa Beach, Oahu

HONOLULU — A crew aboard a U.S. Coast Guard 47-foot motor lifeboat plucked three people from the water after their 14-foot pleasure craft capsized while they were diving two miles off Ewa Beach, Oahu, at approximately 10 a.m. Sunday.

One of the three male divers called 911 using his water-proof cell phone and the call was relayed to Honolulu Fire Department dispatchers, who also alerted the Coast Guard’s 24-hour command center in Honolulu.

The weather on scene at the time of the rescue was reported by the Coast Guard Station Honolulu boat crew to be six-foot swells and 25-knot winds.

The crew aboard the 110-foot patrol boat Kiska was also diverted to the scene, but the 47-foot motor lifeboat crew was able to pull the three divers aboard quickly.

“The entire operation went smoothly,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua Tobosa, the coxswain (boat driver) of the 47-foot motor lifeboat. “We got to them quickly and were able to get them to safety because of quick thinking, a speedy response and great teamwork between our command center, the Kiska and the Honolulu Fire Department.”

Due to the high seas and strong winds, the Kiska led the 47-foot motor lifeboat crew back to Honolulu Harbor, essentially making it easier for the smaller boat to make it back through wind waves and get back to Sand Island faster.

The rescue divers reported no injuries and were transferred safely ashore at Coast Guard Station Honolulu at 11 a.m.

Coast Guard search and rescue controllers recommend boaters heed all broadcast weather condition warnings, wear personal flotation devices while on the water and tell friends and family where they’re going for the day.

Also, the Coast Guard reminds boaters the best way to contact the Coast Guard in an emergency is on VHF marine-band channel 16. Cell phones are a good back up, but may not be reliable off shore.

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