PACIFIC OCEAN - The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) responded to a distress call and rendered aid to a user of personal watercraft off the coast of Southern California, April 17.
Princeton’s bridge team plotted a course to the reported location and determined the distress call was in the ship’s path. Sailors formed a rescue team to assist the stranded person via a rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB).
Upon arrival, the Sailors discovered the personal watercraft was taking on water and about to capsize. The user was immediately given a lifejacket to ensure safety.
"They were shaking profusely while holding on to that jet ski as it was sinking," said Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) 2nd Class Brian Stankowitz, a temporary duty search and rescue (SAR) swimmer, from Trenton, New Jersey. "They told me that they were very cold and asked me to get them out of the water."
The user had been stranded in the water since 7 a.m. Stankowitz assessed the individual for injuries, and transferred the jet skier out of the water and into the RHIB.
“We answered the call, and they were so thankful that we did,” Stankowitz said. “That was the second rescue of my career as a SAR swimmer. Doing stuff like that, stuff that matters, really lifts the spirit of the entire crew.”
The rescued person was given a COVID-19 questionnaire once aboard the RHIB to ensure the safety of Princeton’s crew.
After rendering initial aid, Princeton’s rescue team transferred the individual to a U.S. Coast Guard vessel that returned them to land to receive further medical attention.
Princeton is currently underway conducting routine operations.