A Coast Guard crew rescued a woman Thursday afternoon, approximately half a mile off the coast of St. Thomas’s Perterborg Point.
"This case demonstrates the extremely high level of dedication and professionalism on the part of our Coast Guard crews and serves to remind everyone of the power and unpredictable nature of the ocean," said Chief Petty Officer Shachar BenDavid, supervisor of Boat Forces St. Thomas, which conducted the rescue. “The close cooperation between the Coast Guard and our local partner agencies was a key factor in the successful outcome of this case."
Coast Guard Boat Forces in St. Thomas received a call from a 911 emergency operator at 2:45 p.m. Thursday, notifying them of the developing situation.
The woman and four of her friends, three men and a woman, were on the rocks when they got knocked off and into the water by a large wave. The four friends were able to swim out from the surf and make it back onto the rocks, while the woman was overcome by a second wave and a strong current that pulled her out to sea.
Coast Guard Boat Forces in St. Thomas launched a Coast Guard Response Boat Small II — a 29-foot, high-speed boat designed to operate in shallow waters along coastal borders — to carry out the rescue. Coast Guard Watchstanders in Sector San Juan also launched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Borinquen.
According to information released by the Coast Guard Public Affairs Office in San Juan, the Coast Guard boat crew established communications with the land-based St. Thomas Volunteer First Response Rescue Squad that directed them to the woman’s position. Despite a six-foot ground swell, the Coast Guard response boat maneuvered into position and recovered her from the water.
The boat crew rendered first aid to the woman, who had sustained lacerations during the ordeal. She was transported to National Park facilities in Red Hook, where she was transferred to the waiting EMS and taken to the Schneider Regional Medical Center for further medical care.