2013-06-06 / News

Coast Guard Rescues Man Near Mackinac Bridge May 28

By Erich T. Doerr

The United States Coast Guard rescued a Petoskey man from the Straits of Mackinac Wednesday, May 29, after he had jumped from the Mackinac Bridge. The man had been in the water since about 6 a.m. and was pulled from the water by rescuers one hour later.

The man entered the water from the east side of the bridge, at the south end, approximately 75 feet above the water. His car was found parked on the bridge.

The Coast Guard’s St. Ignace station handled the rescue. Lt. Rob Scott of the Coast Guard’s Sault Ste. Marie station said a 9-1-1 call came in just after 6 a.m. and the station’s 25-foot Response Boat- Small departed within 10 minutes. The Coast Guard arrived on the scene at about 7 a.m.

The rescue crew located the man floating on his back and conscious about a mile away from the bridge. The crew was able to stabilize him using a backboard and the man later confirmed to them how he had entered the water.

He was brought to shore in Mackinaw City and then taken by ambulance to St. Ignace’s Mackinac Straits Health System. No further information is available regarding his health.

“They were able to locate the individual very quickly despite the fog conditions that were present,” Mr. Scott said.

He credited detailed location information from the 9-1-1 dispatcher as part of the reason the man was located so quickly.

“Precise location data enhances search-and-rescue planning, decreases Coast Guard response time, and ultimately translates to significantly increased odds of survival for any victim or person in distress,” said Sault Ste. Marie Coast Guard search-and-rescue mission coordinator Lt. Rich Sansone.

Numerous factors likely affected his odds for survival, Lt. Scott said.

“It’s all up to situation and how the individual lands in the water,” Lt. Scott said. “There’s a lot of factors relative to the survivability.”

In addition to the rescue boat from St. Ignace, the Coast Guard also requested the use of a helicopter from the Traverse City Air Station. The Coast Guard helicopter was unable to respond owing to poor visibility in the Straits area at the time.

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