WATCH: Brevard County Sheriff’s Aviation Unit Locates Distressed Swimmers Swept Out to Sea
By Wayne Ivey, Brevard County Sheriff // March 28, 2021
BCSO Rescue swimmers deployed Hi-Vis Smoke, high visibility flotation device
WATCH: The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit was requested by the United States Coast Guard and also the BCSO Communication Center to respond near the area of Playlinda Beach where two swimmers were in distress.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Recently our Aviation Unit was requested by the United States Coast Guard and also by our Communication Center to respond near the area of Playlinda Beach where two swimmers were in distress.
After developing additional information, it was determined that two juveniles were approximately 2 miles offshore aboard a single paddleboard and were unable to make it back to shore as they were being pushed further east by extremely high winds.
At the time the call was received it was unknown if any injuries had been sustained and based upon available information, our Aviation Unit made the decision to use our UH-1, Huey, as its rescue capabilities provided the best option for this specific type of operation.
Upon arrival in the area, the two juveniles were observed from the helicopter on a single paddleboard several miles from the shoreline.
Aviation Unit members were subsequently able to receive hand signals from the juveniles indicating that they were in distress and as a result, rescue swimmers Brandon McIntyre and Keith Hamant deployed from the aircraft into the water to render aid.
After entering the water, the rescue swimmers found the conditions to be 3 to 4-foot swells at close intervals and it was determined that one of the juveniles, a female had suffered a minor nose injury.
The juveniles indicated that they had been out for an extended period of time attempting to make it back to shore and at one point were inadvertently thrown from the board due to the extremely rough conditions.
Due to the fact that the closest response vessel was approximately 20-30 min away, a determination was made that our rescue swimmers would remain in the water until a vessel from Florida Wildlife Commission could arrive in the area.
Rescue swimmers deployed Hi-Vis Smoke and a high visibility flotation device from the aircraft to ensure visibility for incoming rescue boats.
A short time later a FWC vessel arrived on the scene and the juveniles were transferred into the vessel along with the rescue swimmers and transported to safety at Port Canaveral.
This is another great job by our team and a perfect example of what happens when local, state, and federal agencies work together to protect our citizens and community.
Please join me in thanking Rescue Swimmers Brandon McIntyre and Kieth Hamant, Pilots John Coppola and Mike Ryle, the members of FWC, and our partners at the United States Coast Guard who all worked together to make this rescue possible.
– Sheriff Wayne Ivey