September 30, 2020

Coast Guard chopper rescues stranded jet skier

Coast Guard rescuers saved a missing man clinging to an overturned jet ski in the churning waters off Dauphin Island late Sunday.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Mobile received a report from Baldwin County 911 at approximately 8:50 p.m. that the father of the reporting party had taken a personal watercraft from Fort Morgan toward Dauphin Island to fish and had not returned for three hours.

A Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew located the man about two miles south of Dauphin Island when the crew noticed a white cap that was not breaking and was later identified as the capsized personal watercraft.

The Air Station New Orleans MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew hoisted the man aboard and transported him to Jack Edwards National Airport in Gulf Shores, with no medical concerns.

“The Coast Guard recommends that everyone wear life jackets when they are using small recreational crafts,” said Cmdr. Kara Lavin, Coast Guard Sector Mobile response department head. “This case could have been significantly worse if the survivor was not wearing a life jacket. It is also critical to know that if someone’s vessel capsizes they should stay as close to the vessel as possible so they can be more easily discovered and assisted by rescuers.”