At 8:41 p.m. Tuesday, the Coast Guard Sector San Francisco Command Center received notification of two people in the water alongside their personal watercrafts, which were disabled near Pittsburg Marina approximately a mile away from each other.
Sector San Francisco Vessel Traffic Services was able to locate one of the personal watercrafts and two of the people through a camera in the area. An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco and a boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Rio Vista were launched to assist. Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Marine 6 heard the Urgent Marine Information Broadcast and joined the search.
After 9:12 p.m., the Coast Guard boatcrew located one of the two personal watercrafts with two adults aboard. Marine 6 and the helicopter crew arrived on scene and commenced searching for the third person and personal watercraft. Shortly thereafter, Marine 6 located the missing personal watercraft, abandoned, at the northwestern side of Browns Island and towed it to the marina. After extensive searching, it was discovered the third and final missing adult had swam ashore. Marine 6 evaluated the person for mild hypothermia, but further medical assistance was declined.
“Had the third mariner remained with his personal watercraft he would have been located a lot sooner,” said Lt. Lonnie Walp, command duty officer for Sector San Francisco. “Equipment like marine-band radios, flares, flashlights and even whistles are essential items when on the water. When the individual left his Jet Ski and swam to shore, he risked being hit by commercial and other vessels transiting the area.”