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Florida Kayaker Josh Kaufman Is Lucky To Be Alive Thanks To The Diligent Efforts of The U.S. Coast Guard

SAVED BY THE COAST GUARD! Josh Kaufman of Florida is lucky to be alive after a freak sighting by the U.S. Coast Guard spared his life.

SAN JUAN — The U.S. Coast Guard says a Florida kayaker who went about 15 miles off course without a life jacket is lucky to be alive today.

The Coast Guard in Puerto Rico said it is important for all boaters to notify someone on shore when they are going out on the sea — even if you are just in a kayak.

Josh Kaufman, 25, a resident of Florida, was visiting family in Puerto Rico when he took a kayak trip from a beach in Rincon and became stranded on an uninhabited island 13 nautical miles away, according to a prepared statement.

Kaufman was reported overdue when he did not return from the trip and was last seen at 2 p.m. Thursday paddling out to sea in a green kayak from Punta Rincon.

“The crew of a Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopter searching for Kaufman sighted a man at approximately 9:20 a.m. Friday, who appeared to be stranded on the island of Desecheo, approximately 13 nautical miles from the coast of Rincon, Puerto Rico,” the statement said. “The Coast Guard helicopter headed to Air Station Borinquen to refuel and then returned to Desecheo, where the crew deployed their rescue swimmer and confirmed the man to be Kaufman.”

Kaufman was hoisted on board the helicopter and transported to Air Station Borinquen where he was received by Emergency Medical Services personnel.

“This rescue highlights the importance of having a float plan and a responsible person to promptly notify the Coast Guard when a boater is overdue,” Lt. Cmdr. Catherine Phillips, Sector San Juan Command Center supervisor, said in the prepared statement. “The Mona Passage is a treacherous body of water, this man is very fortunate to have survived.”

Coast Guard and local agency assets involved in the search for Kaufman included helicopters from Air Station Borinquen, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant, the Puerto Rico Joint Forces of Rapid Action Air and Surface Assets and the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency land-based rescue crews.

The U.S. Coast Guard declined to answer a question from the Virgin Islands Free Press about whether Kaufman would be billed for the extreme costs of his rescue.

The U.S. Coast Guard has no official role militarily in a time of war and its resources are slated to be cut 40 percent across the board by President Donald John Trump.

Coast Guard helicopter crews conducted cliff and vertical surface rescue training Sept. 15, 2016, near Air Station Borinquen, 200 feet above Survivor Beach, in Aguadilla, as part of crew certification requirements to conduct search and rescue operations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Matt Udkow, Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopter pilot).



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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy has been reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands since 1989. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan.

1 Comment

  1. Joshua Kaufman
    March 19, 2017 at 12:05 PM — Reply

    *yawn* Airhead? Ouch, kappa. I mean, come on. You have to at least TRY to post with a little less bias if you want people to take your writing more seriously. Maybe you’ll consider it, because I sure as hell think your article provided good information. After I read your title, I already felt that was a little bit recycled from other sources. It’s fine though, I don’t think you would have expected the person who did it to be even remotely computer literate…

    Don’t bother me now though, I’m trying to sleep still.

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