U.S. Coast Guard, St. Croix Rescue, Virgin Islands Department of Natural Resources and Virgin Islands Fire Emergency Service units rescued a 65-year-old man from the Annaly Bay Carambola tide pools on the north side of St. Croix Tuesday.
Coast Guard Sector San Juan watchstanders received a call from a U.S. Virgin Island 911 emergency operator at 12:35 p.m. Tuesday reporting a missing swimmer in the vicinity of Annaly Bay.
Watchstanders issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast to notify nearby vessel traffic of the ongoing distress, while a 33-foot Special Purpose Craft from Coast Guard Boat Forces Detachment St. Croix and a Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter responded to the scene.
Coast Guard watchstanders established communication with the initial reporting source who informed them that her husband was pulled under the water by a wave inside one of the tide pools, and she did not see him resurface.
St. Croix Rescue and DPNR units on the scene actively searched for the missing man and located the survivor trapped in the blowhole of the tide pool from where he was safely recovered. Following the initial rescue, St. Croix rescue personnel assisted and administered first aid to the survivor. Due to the survivor’s condition, the rough terrain and the remoteness of the area, an air extraction of the survivor was required.
Once on scene, the Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk aircrew worked with St. Croix Rescue and VIFEMS personnel to place the survivor in a rescue litter. Once secured, the Coast Guard aircrew hoisted the survivor aboard the aircraft and transported him to the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport in St. Croix, where awaiting emergency medical service personnel received and transported the survivor to a local hospital.
“The crew did a great job managing a challenging hoist environment to the rocky reef in high winds,” said Lt. (j.g.) William Boardman, Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-60T Jayhawk co-pilot for the case. “The excellent coordination between multiple Coast Guard assets and the St Croix Rescue personnel enabled us to have a positive outcome.”
“The terrain and conditions of the sea made the rescue very challenging, however all the responders were determined to bring the victim to his family,” said Jason J. Henry, St. Croix rescue marine commander. “Upon hearing the first sound of life everyone got excited and pushed harder to ensure a successful rescue mission. I usually do not get emotional on calls, however, when the victim was safely raised in the litter, a sigh of relief came over all the rescuers and myself.”