Coast Guard sailors rescue two divers near Smith Island
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
May 29, 2012 · 2:29 PM
The Coast Guard rescued two divers Saturday who had been swept away in strong currents near Smith Island, which is six nautical miles west of Whidbey Island.
The Coast Guard received a report that two divers had gone missing at 7:35 p.m. An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew took off from Air Station Port Angeles and located the divers, who were using flashlights to signal for help, according to Coast Guard Petty Officer Nate Littlejohn.
One of the divers was hoisted into the helicopter and transported to Port Angeles to be treated for hypothermia and dehydration. The Coast Guard Cutter Terrapin picked up the other diver, who was transported to Bellingham.
Littlejohn said the helicopter returned to Smith Island to rescue two dive boat operators. The boaters had intentionally grounded their vessels on Smith Island during the rescue operation. After the divers were recovered, the dive boat operators were unable to relaunch their vessels due to the rough weather.
The dive boat operators were also hoisted into the helicopter and taken to Port Angeles.
In addition to the cutter and helicopter, a 45-foot response boat crew from Station Port Angeles and a second 45-foot response boat crew from Station Bellingham responded to the emergency.
Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.