News Icon

News: Coast Guard pilot in training has dramatic 1st rescue

Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Stephen LehmannSmall RSS IconSubscriptions Icon

Pilot in training has 1st rescue Courtesy Photo

A Coast Guard aircrew stands with Maison Rickmon after rescuing him from South Bay near Port Aransas, Texas, May 14, 2013. His personal watercraft capsized and he held onto a telephone pole in the bay waiting for rescue. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A Coast Guard helicopter crew conducting a training flight was diverted to rescue a man clinging to a telephone pole in the water Tuesday in South Bay, Port Aransas, Texas.

Maison Rickmon of Cuero was riding his personal watercraft earlier in the day when it became disabled and was capsized by waves in the bay, leaving him in the water without a life jacket. He swam to the 100-foot wooden telephone pole, where he grabbed a bolt that was sticking out and he waited.

At about 9:20 p.m., someone noticed the capsized watercraft and called the Coast Guard for help.

The Sector Corpus Christi watchstanders diverted the aircrew aboard an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from their training mission and deployed a response boat crew from Station Port Aransas to search for a possible missing person.

The helicopter crew launched that day to work on getting one of the pilots qualified for hoist operations, but there wasn't enough time or fuel to land and switch out the pilot.

The reporting source flashed their headlights toward the capsized watercraft to vector the helicopter in. After a 10 minute search of the immediate area, the helicopter's flight mechanic spotted Rickmon partially out of the water, clinging to the bolt.

The pilot in training, Lt. Eric Vryheid, was able to maneuver close enough to deliver the rescue swimmer and complete his first rescue.

"I saw a helicopter fly by and tried to signal it with my flashlight, but it had died," said Rickmon. "Then I saw it fly past me again, slower this time, and I waved and splashed water frantically but I was tired so I couldn't splash too much. It was such a relief when I realized that the Coast Guard saw me, and when I saw the rescue swimmer being lowered from the helicopter. I knew I was being rescued."

Rickmon was transported to Sector Corpus Christi where EMS was standing by.

"I am extremely proud of my crew for their keen eye spotting the survivor and their quick action getting him out of the water to safety,” said Lt. Keith Thomas, the rescue helicopter’s aircraft commander. “It was a very challenging rescue in a confined area as there were multiple hazards in our path, such as power lines. We were also low on fuel.

“We worked very well together as a crew to conduct the challenging rescue safely and expeditiously and were able to save a life tonight," said Thomas.

“For the crew aboard the MH-65 helicopter, whose night began only as a training mission, the unexpected rescue is a testament to the skill of the members of Air Station Corpus Christi to execute the mission, even those unexpected, with proficiency,” said Capt. Samuel Creech, the commanding officer of Air Station Corpus Christi.

Coast Guard reminds boaters that they should always wear life jackets while underway, and, in addition, have flares or other signaling devices as part of their vessel’s safety equipment.


Connected Media
VideoCoast Guard Rescues...
A Coast Guard aircrew was diverted while on a training...
ImagesPilot in training has...
A Coast Guard aircrew stands with Maison Rickmon after...


Web Views
1,053
Downloads
0

Podcast Hits
0



Public Domain Mark
This work, Coast Guard pilot in training has dramatic 1st rescue, by PO2 Stephen Lehmann, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:05.15.2013

Date Posted:05.15.2013 17:28

Location:PORT ARANSAS, TX, USGlobe

Hometown:CUERO, TX, US

More Like This

  • A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew rescued a boater from a 31-foot sailing vessel in the Gulf of Alaska Tuesday.
  • The crew of a Coast Guard helicopter, Puerto Rico Police and state and local Emergency Management crews combined efforts to rescue a man Sunday who was stranded on a beach at the bottom of a 200-foot cliff  in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
  • The Coast Guard honored 26 crew members Wednesday at Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., for their efforts during the tall ship Bounty rescue.
  • An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Sector San Diego rescued five people after their sail boat capsized 197 miles southwest of San Diego, Wednesday morning.

Options

  • Army
  • Marines
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Coast Guard
  • National Guard

HOLIDAY GREETINGS

SELECT A HOLIDAY:

VIDEO ON DEMAND

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Flickr