Good Samaritan Helps Coast Guard Rescue 3 People from Downed Aircraft Off the Florida Keys

by Clayton Edwards
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Our communities are strongest when we all pitch in to lend a helping hand. Sometimes, that can be something as simple as reaching out to a neighbor to make sure they’re alright. Other times, it means taking a risk to save a life. Yesterday afternoon, one good Samaritan helped the Coast Guard rescue three people from a small plane near the Florida Keys. That citizen saw someone in need and didn’t hesitate to help out.

A Good Samaritan Comes to the Rescue

A Cessna 210 went down just north of the Florida Keys yesterday afternoon, according to Breaking 911. Sector Key West watchstanders received the call about the downed craft at around 4:30. The call directed them to the wreck near the Florida Keys Marathon International Airport. Within moments, a US Coast Guard team was in motion. At the same time, a good Samaritan was on their way to lend a hand in the rescue.

A US Coast Guard team from Marathon Station traveled to the wreck. Once there, they learned that the downed Cessna contained three people. However, from the report, it sounds like the good Samaritan had already started working on the rescue. The USCG 33-foot Special Purpose Craft’s crew embarked the three survivors from the brave civilian. They took the survivors to shore where emergency medical personnel were waiting for them.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Paul Altieri, a Coast Guard watchstander for the Key West Sector spoke about the rescue and thanked the good Samaritan. “Thank you to the good Samaritan for arriving on scene and recovering the three survivors he said. Then added that the good Samaritan’s quick response played a “tremendous role” in saving the plane’s crew.

Being a Good Samaritan

On land, a good Samaritan is anyone who lends a hand to someone in need. However, on the water, the term takes on a more serious meaning. Additionally, there are laws that govern the actions of these helpful citizens and protect them in case litigation arises, according to Sail Magazine.

Being a good Samaritan at sea is all about coming to the rescue. It could be something simple like offering a can of fuel. On the other hand, it could mean pulling survivors out of the water after a plane crash.

If you’re on the water and you can help without putting yourself, your vessel, or those in need in danger, you should do so. However, many second guess helping because they fear being sued if damages occur. The Federal Boating Safety Act states, “Any person who gratuitously and in good faith renders assistance at the scene of a vessel collision, accident, or other casualty without objection of any person assisted shall not be held liable for any act or omission…where the assisting person(s) acts as an ordinary, reasonable, prudent person would have acted.”

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