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Coast Guard Helicopter Swoops Down To Rescue Female Swimmer Off Aguadilla

SAN JUAN — The crew of a Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter rescued a swimmer in distress just off Rompe Olas Beach near downtown Aguadilla. 

Rescued was Mabel Ramos, mid thirties, after she was pulled out by the current, approximately a mile from shore. 

Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan received a call from a Puerto Rico 911 Emergency System Bureau Operator relaying a report from a bystander of a person in the water who appeared to be in distress and floating past a green buoy in the area.  Watchstanders immediately directed the launch of an Air Station Borinquen rescue helicopter to the scene.  

The aircrew navigated around multiple convective weather cells in the area. Once on scene, the helicopter located Ramos actively treading water and struggling to stay afloat.  The Coast Guard aircrew deployed their rescue swimmer who provided a sling for flotation while assessing her condition. The aircrew recovered the survivor utilizing a rescue basket.

The Coast Guard then flew the woman to Air Station Borinquen in Aguadilla, where Emergency Medical Service personnel evaluated her condition before releasing her after not presenting an injury or medical concern.

“This bystander’s quick call for a person in distress was crucial in the success of this mission,” said Lt. Lindsey Cockburn, Coast Guard MH-60 aircraft commander for the case   “Local 911 emergency operators and Coast Guard Sector San Juan worked together efficiently, allowing Air Station Borinquen to launch quickly and arrive in time to conduct the rescue.” 

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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