U.S. Coast Guard personnel from Bellingham rescued a boater stranded on a disabled personal watercraft in Bellingham Bay late Saturday afternoon, Jan. 16.
The crew of an Airlift Northwest medevac helicopter reported seeing a red signal flare, apparently sent by a boater in distress near Eliza Island, and alerted the Coast Guard station in Seattle at 4:04 p.m. Saturday. A 45-foot boat sailed from the Bellingham station near Squalicum Harbor to investigate.
Airlift Northwest’s crew hovered nearby until the rescue was made. Eliza Island is about two miles due west of Governor’s Point, off the southern tip of Lummi Island.
The boater was taken by boat to the ferry terminal in Fairhaven. Bellingham Fire Department firefighters treated him for hypothermia at the scene.
Weather at the time was 17 mph winds, with a 48-degree air temperature and 52-degree water temperature, according to a Coast Guard statement.
“Outstanding job on behalf of the crews at Station Bellingham and Airlift Northwest for their coordinated efforts in locating the source of the flare,” said Lt. Eric Romero, command duty officer at Sector Puget Sound. “We also commend the individual for having flares on hand with which to effectively signal their distress and highly encourage other small craft users to be just as well-equipped.”