This Hero Coast Guardsman Swam A Mile In Five-Foot Waves To Rescue FOUR Capsized Fishermen

by 4 years ago

This story is incredible. But don’t take it from me, bros, I’m supposed to hype up all my articles. Take it from the Coastguard spokesman who called it an “amazing story” and a “monumental effort,” of the kind he’s never seen or heard before.

It all started with an emergency call to the Coast Guard at 1:40 am on Tuesday morning. The call came from the crew of the Jamie K, a fishing vessel that had become shipwrecked about 250 yards off Cape Blanco, Oregon. The vessel had lost power and water had begun to surge over its walls. The four fisherman on the boat were left no choice but to abandon the sinking ship and headed for their life boats.

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U.S. Coast Guard

Standard rescue protocol is to send a chopper over the scene, lower a hoist and a swimmer one by one to retrieve the desperate fishermen. Just like you see in the movies. Believe it or not, this procedure is typical for Coastguardsmen and usually goes without error. Not this time, bros.

According to the Washington Post,

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.

Check out the footage below of the Harrity being lowered 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. 

The pilot was not lying.

Harrity then swam the length of two and a half football fields over to the lifeboat is stubborn five-foot waves while the air was suffocating with the boat’s fuel.

He conviced the first man to abandon the life raft and grabbed him with one arm while he swam 250 yards to shore. He then swam back to the lifeboat (another 250 yards) to grab the second fisherman and swam him back to safety. He repeated this process two more times and 500 more yards to bring all four desperate fisherman ashore.

Spokesman David Mosely claimed Monday the rescue was “just a heroic effort.”

Harrity told KPTV, “It was just me and my muscles and that’s it.”

To pull off a rescue of this magnitude, you can’t be any shmo off the streets. Harrity had been training for the Coast Guard since the age of 19. His typical swim workout, according to the Washington Post, was a lot of laps, followed by eight “50-meter underwater laps with no breath,” and then “then 60 seconds treading water between laps for rest.”

During one of his underwater training exercises in 2007, he blacked out. A swimmer in another lane pulled his lifeless body out of the water. He had no pulse. All he remembers is waking up in the hospital five days later. A year later, he graduated with honors as a helicopter rescue swimmer.

The crew of the Jamie K are sure glad he did.

The crew captain, Jake Leach took to his Facebook page to express his gratitude:

“Thank you everyone for your support and concern about the boat the the crew. Glad everything went the way it should and that everyone made it out in one piece.”

Mosley remains flabbergasted at the heroism of Harrity:

“It’s an amazing story. A monumental effort. An amazing kind of feat. But that’s what our rescue swimmers train for.”

Reads like a goddamn movie. If you see this man at your local pub, buy him a beer. Or four.

[h/t Washington Post]