Victim brought ashore by search and rescue swimmer
A woman who jumped off the end of Preston Island into the frigid Pacific Ocean was rescued in less than an hour Wednesday night, authorities said.
A 911 call was placed around 5:05 p.m. informing law enforcement that the woman, whose name was not released, had entered the water less than five minutes before, according to Del Norte County Sheriff’s Commander Tim Athey. Emergency responders quickly saw the woman, whose name and age were not released.
First responders, including the Del Norte Search and Rescue Team, assembled at the Pebble Beach scene. With his gear on first, rescue swimmer David Bree jumped in the water.
“When I got out there, I got my fins on, looked around, and I had enough light to get into the water with no problems, so I just went for it,” Bree said.
Bree paddled chest down on a rescue board 40 to 60 yards before reaching the victim, he said.
“She wouldn’t cooperate, but she didn’t fight,” he said. “I tried to get her to crawl up and grab on the board and she wouldn’t do that, so I just left her on the board, pulled the board up in front of her, tried to keep her head up above water and just back-pedaled all the way back in,” Bree said.
U.S. Coast Guard officials sent a boat and helicopter to the scene, but since Bree was able to get the woman on shore by himself, they were not needed.
The woman was on solid ground by 5:45 p.m. in the care of Del Norte Ambulance, Athey said. Rescue operations started to wrap up just past 6 p.m.
After spending at least 40 minutes in the water, the female victim was exhibiting signs of hypothermia, officials said.
Other responding agencies included Del Norte Sheriff’s Office, Crescent City Police Department, Crescent City Fire Department, and Crescent Fire Protection District.