NH firefighters use jet ski to rescue kayaker
One Rye Fire Department firefighter operated the jet ski, while the other was able to rescue the man from the water and bring him back to shore
Portsmouth Herald, N.H.
RYE, N.H — The town's decision to fund $35,000 for a jet ski for water rescues paid off Sunday, when a pair of firefighters used it to rescue a kayaker who overturned in the ocean, said Fire Chief Mark Cotreau.
By luck or a miracle, the kayaker's cellphone had service in a town known for spotty reception, and it functioned when he used it to call 911 for help July 21 at about 7 p.m., the fire chief said. Rockingham County dispatch took the 911 call and the man reported being about a mile offshore, east of Concord Point, Cotreau said.
At the time, Rye firefighters were delivering a patient to Portsmouth Regional Hospital, so in addition to notifying Rye, dispatchers also notified the Coast Guard, Marine Patrol and Hampton Fire, all of which deployed fire boats, he said. North Hampton Fire responded to a dock with an ambulance, he said.
Two Rye firefighters responded to Rye Harbor where the Sea Doo jet ski, branded "Rye Fire and Rescue," is docked and they used it to locate the kayaker at about the same time the Coast Guard arrived, Cotreau said. One firefighter was operating the jet ski, while the other was able to rescue the man from the water and bring him back to shore at about 7:46 p.m., the chief said. The Coast Guard retrieved the kayak and brought that to the dock, he said.
The rescued man was brought to the waiting ambulance and transported to Portsmouth Regional Hospital. According to PRH spokesperson Lynn Robbins, the kayaker was treated and released the same night.
"This was definitely a life-threatening incident," Cotreau said. "We were so happy to be able to go out there and make that successful rescue.
Cotreau said a 2018 water-rescue assessment determined the need for the jet ski and the town approved $35,000 to buy the Sea Doo, obtain certification and training and purchase related equipment. He said the N.H. Port Authority provided dock space and mutual aid agreements provided needed human resources during the incident.
The jet ski was put into service July 1, he said.
"It was a challenging life-saving incident," Cotreau said. "It was really made possible because of this jet ski and mutual aid. All our efforts paid off Sunday night."
©2019 Portsmouth Herald, N.H.