Fishermen rescued near Pedro Bluff

| 08/12/2015 | 23 Comments
Cayman News Service

Pedro Bluff

(CNS): The lives of two men picking whelks on the ironshore at the Pedro Bluff were saved Sunday morning by a coordinated rescue effort of emergency personnel and police divers after they were swept into the ocean by a large wave. The fishermen were spotted struggling in the water by a couple who were kite fishing who called the emergency services at around 8:30am. The conditions, however, proved tough for all those who responded and police said it was down to training and coordination that the men were eventually brought to shore safely and largely unharmed.

Explaining the chain of events, an RCIPS spokesperson said that uniformed police from Bodden Town and George Town were the first to respond to the area. They were quickly joined by a rapid response team of two police officers trained in emergency medical response and certified in search-and-rescue diving, who had heard the 911 dispatch over the radio. Cayman Islands Fire Service units also responded, providing much-needed flotation equipment and ropes.

All responders worked together attempting to extend flotation devices and ropes to the men, who were treading water and responsive, in order to pull them ashore per rescue protocols, but choppiness of the water and rapid fatigue of the men required the police rescue divers to attach ropes to themselves and swim out to retrieve them, police said.

At this point the men were about 100 yards offshore. Due to the strong current, wave action and the condition of the stranded men, the police rescue divers were in the water for several minutes and were also assisted by those first responders onshore who pulled the victims and themselves in.

Both men, in their 40’s, were treated by EMS personnel on-site and elected not to go to the hospital. One man had swallowed salt water and had severe leg cramps by the time the police rescue divers had reached him.

RCIPS management commended “the excellent coordination of all first responders to the scene”, including the 911 dispatchers, uniformed police, police search-and-rescue divers, fire service and EMS personnel, “who demonstrated in this instance the coordination and training needed to make the right decisions at the right moment to save lives”.

The men were lucky, given the high death toll in Cayman waters this year. So far, 14 people have lost their lives at sea during 2015, from a Cuban migrant who drowned in January in rough seas in South Sound to a visiting diver from the United States who died last Sunday following a dive in West Bay. Norwegian billionaire Erik Henriksen (58) was killed in an unexplained boating incident in the North Sound last month.

The number of water related deaths has prompted the RCIPS to include water safety in their Christmas campaign and the Joint Marine Unit will be raising awareness during the festive season and patrolling the water to enforce maritime laws and give out safety advice.

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Comments (23)

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  1. excop says:

    Well done. Thankfully this came out alright. Its a shame the JMU couldnt respond though. Maybe an FOI needs to be done to see why.

    From what is being rumored they havent any boats because the Chief Engineer that was keeping everything running is not there.

    This was because he found out about some serious misdealings and another persons greed about his position.

    But from what is happening soon all will be brought to light. Its just a shame none of the so called free press have attempted to find out whats truely going on instead of getting “official press releases”.

    Maybe someone should talk to his lawyer.

  2. Anonymous says:

    “Both men, in their 40’s, were treated by EMS personnel on-site and elected not to go to the hospital. One man had swallowed salt water and had severe leg cramps by the time the police rescue divers had reached him.”

    Why EMS personnel didn’t transport ?
    The swimmer often appears fine immediately after the event. But over time, water left in the swimmer’s lungs begins to cause edema, or swelling. When the lungs’ alveoli are filled with water, they cannot exchange oxygen to and from the blood. This causes the heart to slow as the swimmer’s blood oxygen level drops. Symptoms appear 1 to 24 hours after the incident. They can include persistent coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, lethargy, fever and unusual mood change. If the swelling is caught early, paramedics can administer oxygen and try to remove the fluid from the lungs using diuretics and positive air pressure. If not treated, complications will develop and will progress to pulmonary edema (evidenced by a pink frothy discharge from the victimʼs nose and mouth), hypoxia/anoxia, respiratory and cardiac arrest, and death.

    The American Red Cross recently launched a national campaign to reduce the drowning rate in 50 U.S. cities by 50% over the next three to five years. Check with your local pool for certified swimming instructors and classes.

    • Anonymous says:

      My guess is the men refused transport. EMS is always willing to take you to the hospital, it’s how they get paid, but two conscious 40-somethings have the final say.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Only Caymanians should have the right to collect whelks.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Well done by all involved especially the two officers who own life and limb to rescue these individuals. I should say well worthy of medals.

  5. Anonymous says:

    11:19 you are the typical pessimist and hypocrite and what is wrong with this country…imagine cops jumping in the water aided by their emergency colleagues to save two lives and you managed to somehow question whether they were police divers. You think you would have cared if they were police divers? absolutely not! you would been happy people were putting their own lives on the line to save you…I know that these two officers are both highly trained in life saving techniques as well as both are trained in scuba diving, albeit whilst on duty they are engaged in other duties; but it all comes down to public safety and that is exactly what they did in this case; save two lives. I am sure those two men are very thankful and couldn’t care less whether they are police divers or not…enough said and I won’t give you the privilege of another response because I am sure you will be reading this and coming back with a nonsensical argument.

  6. frangipani says:

    the sea is a good servant but a bad master. Don’t take chances with anything you can’t control

  7. Anonymous says:

    To be accurate, these were not police rescue divers, but ordinary patrol cops who could swim and bravely went in – nice try at spin. There was no sign of any police divers because there probably aren’t any. The ‘Joint Marine Unit’ are the last people to preach water safety. How many boats have they damaged?

    • Anonymous says:

      I know one for sure is a police diver. Just cause he didn’t have the gear doesn’t mean he isn’t trained.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think you will find he is a police officer and a diver, but not both in the same role. That is the difference. They said ‘rescue diver’, think you’ll find there are none.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Kite fishing? Fishing with kites or fishing for kites?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Speaking of Mr. Henriksen’s tragic accident, wonder what type of investigation is being conducted? As I understand, both occupants of the boat were thrown out and the boat was circling around in the North Sound un-piloted until it ended up in the mangroves. What would have happened if people or other boats happened to be in its path?

    Hope there is indeed an investigation which will lead to measures top prevent a repeat. That is the point of most post-accident investigations.

    • SwampCrab says:

      If any boats were in its path, I would assume they would have gotten rammed until they were out of its path.

  10. Anonymous says:

    great job to all involved. That’s 2 guys who will be thankful this christmas….

  11. Anonymous says:

    Wow … this was quite a heroic rescue.
    Great job RCIPS!

  12. Anonymous says:

    That had a good ending. Well done to all involved.

  13. Knot S Smart says:

    Whelks for Christmas Dinner…

  14. kudos to all involved and glad the men are safe BUT here we have the same old argument if u don’t understand the water conditions DONT take a chance being that close to the water.Again a successfully run operation by the various Govt organisations Well done all of you.

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