The crew of a Coast Guard Boat Station San Juan 33-foot Special Purpose Craft – Law Enforcement rescued a young girl, between four to six-years-old, from an inflatable plastic raft Monday afternoon, over half a mile off the beach near “Isla de Cabras” in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico.
Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan received a call at 3:49 p.m. Monday from a 911 Emergency operator, who reported that the child was being swept out to sea near the “Palo Seco” power plant in Toa Baja. Watchstanders directed the launch of a Coast Guard 33-foot SPC-LE boat crew from Boat Station San Juan to search for the child. Watchstanders also issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast advising boaters in the area to be on the lookout.
Within 12 minutes of getting underway, The Coast Guard boat crew was on scene. With the assistance of Sector San Juan watchstanders, the boat crew was patched into a phone call with Samuel Cruz Valcárcel, a Good Samaritan bystander at the beach, who was able to communicate directly with the boat crew and vector them in closer to the location of the raft. Moments later, the Boat Station San Juan crew located the girl drifting away from shore on her inflatable raft. The Coast Guard crew came alongside the raft and safely recovered the girl, they provided her with a blanket to make her warm and comfortable aboard.
“This brave little girl was very fortunate to survive this ordeal, she did a great job of staying on her raft that was not a lifesaving device and could have easily tipped over at any moment, she was also wearing a life jacket.” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jesse Wilde, Coast Guard Boat Station San Juan coxswain for the case. “Despite the situation she was in good spirits, we’ll never forget her smile once she realized she was safe. I am proud of the entire crew and of our watchstanders, our training, experience and the coordination with a Good Samaritan at the beach allowed us to quickly locate this young child and bring her to safety.”
Sector San Juan watchstanders coordinated the transfer of the child to local responding emergency authorities ashore. The Coast Guard boat crew rendezvoused with a responder aboard watercraft from the Vega Baja Municipal Office of Emergency Management, who received and transported the child ashore. The child was outfitted with an additional life jacket for the transit and she was received by Emergency Medical Service personnel, who reportedly transported her to a local hospital as a precaution for further evaluation.