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Coast Guard pilot has dramatic first rescue

A Coast Guard helicopter crew conducting a training flight was diverted to rescue a man clinging to a telephone pole in the water last week in Port Aransas, Texas.

A man was riding his personal watercraft until it became disabled and he was knocked off the PWC by waves, leaving him in the water without a life jacket.

He swam to the 100-foot wooden telephone pole, where he grabbed a bolt that was sticking out and he waited.

The pilot in training, Lt. Eric Vryheid, was able to maneuver near power lines and a bridge to deliver the rescue swimmer and hoist them both, completing his first rescue.

“It was pretty exciting,” said Vryheid. “Going out for training similar to this and getting to actually do it on the same flight was awesome. It was a little more complex than an open water rescue, we had power lines and a bridge nearby. The rescue swimmer had a pretty significant distance to swim.”

Click here for the full Coast Guard announcement.