DOG ISLAND, U.S. Virgin Islands – A 50-year-old fisherman clung to sharp rocks, battered by 6-foot waves Sunday, waiting for Coast Guard rescuers to pull him to safety. Tropical Storm Earl churned up the waves catching the man by surprise.
The man got off his 26-foot fishing boat to spear fish on the rocks just off of Dog Island. The island is in the Caribbean southeast of St. Thomas.
Waves quickly overcame the fisherman who was thrown against the rocks and injured. His friend on the boat called 9-11 around 8:30 a.m.
A Coast Guard Boat tried to throw the man a line, but the turbulent waves prevented the craft from getting close enough. The man continued to hold on to the rocks while a helicopter readied to send a rescue swimmer down by line.
"This was a challenging case in a tropical storm with heavy seas, gusty winds, and low visibility, but this is what the Coast Guard trains for," said Lt. Shea Smith, Coast Guard. "I’m proud of the crew, everyone came together as a team to safely and efficiently execute the mission. Fortunately, the survivor was able to hang on until we could arrive and we are all glad that he is safe."
Take a look at the rescue video above. The swimmer can’t even see the fisherman below initially. The rescuer is slowly lowered to the man. After securing the victim in a harness, both were pulled back into the helicopter.
The fisherman was treated at a St. Thomas hospital for his injuries.
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