Friends ocean fishing Saturday morning at Salt Point State Park in Northern California spotted a rogue wave heading for shore. Three dashed up the beach to safety.
When they looked back, the fourth – an amputee with one arm from Sacramento – had been swept off the rocks into the frigid ocean, Coast Guard Petty Officer Travis Addison told The Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Then the current began carrying the man out to sea as he struggled to stay afloat. One of the men ran to a rocky outcrop for better cellphone reception to seek help while the others shouted advice to their friend, Addison said.
“They were hollering out at him to stay calm and just remain on his back — try to stay calm and float,” Addison told the publication, “and I think that really helped him, because he didn’t have a life jacket on or anything. They were able to coach him from shore.”
Scott Kwon, a California State Parks lifeguard, put on a wetsuit and swam out to the fisherman and helped keep him afloat as he eventually drifted more than 500 feet from shore, reported the California Highway Patrol in a Facebook post on the incident.
A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter based out of San Francisco arrived and lowered a rescue swimmer to assist Kwon. The helicopter then hoisted the fisherman from the water, reported the CHP. The Coast Guard flew the man to shore, where he was treated and transferred to a CHP helicopter to be taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital..
The man was listed in critical condition Saturday afternoon with severe hypothermia after nearly an hour in the 52-degree water, reported The Santa Rosa Press Democrat. His name has not been released by authorities.
“He ended up being in the water for about an hour which is amazing that he was able to stay conscious that long,” Lt. Commander Terry Herdliska, the Coast Guard pilot in the rescue, told KPIX. “Fifty degree water – someone who’s not used to that can succumb to hypothermia in a matter of minutes.”
The Timber Cove Fire Protection District, Cal Fire, North Sonoma Coast Fire Protection District and Coast Life Support also participated in the rescue.
Salt Point State Park, located on the Sonoma County coast north of San Francisco, covers 6,000 acres of hiking trails and coastline.
Salt Point Water Rescue
**State Parks Lifeguard and USCG Helicopter Rescue Man Swept to Sea, CHP Helicopter Transports Victim to Hospital**Shortly after 8 am, 911 callers began reporting that a man had fallen into the Pacific Ocean at Salt Point in Sonoma County. Redcom dispatched Firefighters from the Timber Cove Fire Department, CAL FIRE, North Sonoma Fire, Coast Life Support, a helicopter from the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco, California State Parks, and CHP Golden Gate Division Air Operations Helicopter H-30 all responded. Upon the first arriving units to the scene, it was determined that a 40 year old male from Sacramento was on the rocks near the ocean when a “sleeper wave” struck him and swept him to sea. The victim was swept approximately 200-300 feet from shore in a difficult to access area. A California State Parks Lifeguard, Scott Kwon, located the victim and swam to the his aid as the victim was succumbing to the frigid Pacific Ocean water. A United States Coast Guard Helicopter, based out of San Francisco, lowered a USCG Rescue Swimmer to the victim and State Parks Lifeguard Kwan. The USCG Helicopter hoisted the victim to the helicopter and the victim was flown to fire and medical resources who were waiting on shore. Sonoma County first responders provided medical care to the patient and transported him to a waiting California Highway Patrol Helicopter, CHP H-30. The H-30 crew, a CHP Officer/Pilot and a CHP Flight Officer/Paramedic flew the critically injured patient to the Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital where he was listed in CRITICAL condition. This is another excellent example of how federal, state, and local first responders selflessly risk their lives to save another. This patient could have died if it wasn’t for the quick response of the Sonoma Fire response, California State Parks, California State Parks Lifeguard, the USCG Helicopter, and CHP H-30s transport to the hospital saving precious time. The video of the USCG Helicopter was taken from shore and was provided by the California State Parks. The second portion of the video is GoPro footage of CHP H-30 landing to transport the patient. **Update as 4:45 pm the victim is stable and recovering at the hospital due to the lifesaving efforts of all involved**CHP – Santa RosaCHP – Golden Gate DivisionREDCOMPosted by CHP - Golden Gate Division Air Operations on Saturday, March 17, 2018