A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew on a training mission rescued a man who had been seen riding a personal watercraft in and around Manasquan Inlet on Sunday morning after a rescue swimmer on board spotted the small vessel with nobody on board.
“It’s crazy how fortunate the timing was for everyone,” said Coast Guard Chief Nick Ameen.
The helicopter crew from Air Station Atlantic City was already in the area of the inlet on a training mission with a rescue swimmer on board. The rescue swimmer spotted the jet-ski, then moments later spotted its operator.
“He started scanning the area and saw a person in the water,” Ameen said.
According to witness reports, the man was riding the jet-ski in the inlet and just outside of it when the power of the currents in the area beached the jet-ski on the jetty rocks.
“Between the weather conditions and the situation we were in — right by the jetty — he was in a really bad spot,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Billy Arrison, the rescue swimmer on the case. “It was only a matter of time until he would’ve washed up on the rocks next to his jet ski.”
As the helicopter made a second pass, Arrison suited up and got ready to lower the rescue basket.
“They lowered the rescue swimmer down, and by this point the jet-skier had gotten pushed toward the jetty,” said Ameen. “[Arrison] came down in the water and just grabbed the guy.”
Manasquan police and first aid squad members assisted in the rescue operation, according to borough officials there.
The man, who has not yet been identified, was okay.
“He was just very exhausted by the time everything was done,” Ameen said.