A U.S. Coast Guard crew rescued a missing boater on a Jet Ski Tuesday morning and transported him in a USCG HH-65 Dolphin helicopter to Emergency Medical Services personnel at St. Thomas’ Cyril E. King Airport. His condition was not known.
The 33-year-old man reportedly went missing around 6 p.m. Monday. His watercraft became disabled and went adrift while he was traveling with two friends, each on their own personal watercraft, from Magens Bay to Charlotte Amalie, according to a Coast Guard press release. The other two riders made it to shore and told Department of Planning and Natural Resources personnel that their friend was still missing, the release said.
DPNR reported the incident to Coast Guard controllers in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The search for the missing man began Tuesday morning, with Coast Guard rescue crews conducting air and surface searches with helicopters, a 25-foot response boat from the Coast Guard unit on St. Thomas and the Coast Guard Cutter Reef Shark, according to the release.
The missing man was located approximately 12 nautical miles northwest of St. Thomas, and was wearing a life jacket when he was rescued.
Personal watercraft operators are also considered boaters, the Coast Guard emphasized. Before heading out, boaters should remember to:
- stay with their boat or personal watercraft if the vessel capsizes and they can’t make it to shore, and look around for help if another boat is close enough;
- carry and check safety gear to be sure it works;
- always file a float plan with a friend or a marina, remember to wear a reflective lifejacket and have flares or other signaling devices on board to make it easier to be detected at night;
- stay together when traveling in a group; and
- wear protective clothing.
Severe internal injuries can occur if water is forced into body cavities as a result of falling into the water or being near a jet thrust nozzle, the release said.