San Diego Coast Guard Rescues Two off Coronado Islands

SAN DIEGO – Two people were taken off their vessel tonight by the Coast Guard after it drifted dangerously neared the rocks of North Coronado Island.

A friend of the two people on board called in a report to the Sector San Diego operations center by cell phone at 6:30 p.m. that they were adrift south of Imperial Beach, about five miles off shore, with no power, anchor, or propulsion.

Eventually, cell phone communication with the vessel’s crew was lost, and a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Sector San Diego and a 41-foot rescue boat from Station San Diego were dispatched to the scene. The vessel was 50 feet from the rocks, but the crew of the helicopter hoisted the man and woman from their 19-foot pleasure craft, then remained on scene until the rescue boat took the vessel in tow.

The rescued people and their vessel were taken back to Sector San Diego. Both were suffering from mild hypothermia, but required no in-patient medical assistance.

“The vessel lost power and the mariners were unable to use their VHF marine radio to call for help. It was fortunate that they had a cell phone aboard as a backup method of communication,” said Capt. Tom Farris, commander of Sector San Diego. “It is important to recognize that cell phone signals offshore are sporadic and can be lost as few as five miles out, so VHF marine radios remain the best method of communication on the water.”

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