Thu. Oct 6th, 2022

US Virgin Islands rescue: Coast Guard saves stranded spear fisherman during tropical storm, video shows

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A spear fisherman was rescued by the Coast Guard after getting stranded in rough waters off the coast of the U.S. Virgin Islands during a tropical storm on Sunday, dramatic video shows. 

The Coast Guard dispatched a boat crew and an MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter to the scene near Dog Island after receiving a distress call at 8:30 a.m. from the man’s friend, who was on a nearby boat. 

Tropical Storm Earl dropped heavy rainfall across the Leeward Islands, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico over the weekend and is expected to become a hurricane later this week. 

An MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter aircrew deployed a rescue swimmer to secure the fisherman in a harness. 

An MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter aircrew deployed a rescue swimmer to secure the fisherman in a harness. 
(Coast Guard)

The crew tried to get a heaving line to the injured man, but six-foot waves stopped them from getting close enough to rescue him, so a rescue swimmer deployed from the helicopter and used a harness to secure the fisherman. 

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The injured survivor, who is over 50 years old, was transported to the Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas for treatment. 

“This was a challenging case in a tropical storm with heavy seas, gusty winds, and low visibility, but this is what the Coast Guard trains for,” Lt. Shea Smith, MH-60T Jayhawk aircraft commander in the incident, said in a statement. 

“Fortunately, the survivor was able to hang on until we could arrive, and we are all glad that he is safe.”

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The rescue took place near Dog Island, which is southeast of St. Thomas. 



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