I was amazed to read of the rescue of four fishermen by a US Coast Guard rescue swimmer under very difficult circumstances.
A Coast Guard spokesman called it “an amazing story,” a “monumental effort,” of the sort he’d never heard or seen before.
It started with an emergency call to the Coast Guard on marine radio at 1:40 a.m. Tuesday morning. The crew of the Jamie K, a 52-ft. fishing vessel, had run aground about 250 yards off Cape Blanco, Ore., lost power and was taking on water. The four fishermen on board were abandoning ship and and headed for their life boats.
That’s a routine call for the Coast Guard. They chopper over to the scene, lower a hoist and a swimmer and one by one, bring up those stranded in the water. But there was nothing routine about what happened next.
The Coast Goard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter took off from Coast Guard Station North Bend, about 60 miles north of Cape Blanco on the Pacific. It arrived at the scene fine, and began what seemed at first like a standard rescue, lowering Petty Officer 2nd Class Darren Harrity carefully into the water.
But then something went wrong and they couldn’t get the hoist back up. “A mechanical failure,” Chief Petty Officer David Mosley, a Coast Guard spokesman in Seattle told The Post.
“I think the pilot said, ‘Harrity, you’re going to be doing a lot of swimming tonight,” Harrity told KPTV.
There's more at the link.
PO Harrity swam 250 yards to the ship, collected the first survivor, and swam with him another 250 yards to the shore. He then did the return trip three more times to rescue the other three survivors - a total of 2,000 yards (a nautical mile) of swimming, battered by rough waves polluted by diesel fuel from the wrecked ship, and without any flotation device to aid him. It was just his muscles, swim fins and fitness against the sea.
I think that's an astonishing feat of courage and endurance, and testimony to PO Harrity's physical conditioning. I hope he receives some sort of recognition for his achievement. I'm sure he already has the respect of his peers and colleagues. They can hardly help it - he must clank whenever he walks past them!