March 7, 2011

Man rescued from the water offshore of Big Pine Key

ResQ Disc, on a supply room shelf at the Sheriff's Office. The
floatation / rescue discs are issued to all Sheriff's Deputies.
Big Pine Key – A Key West man clinging to mangroves offshore of Big Pine Key Friday night was rescued by deputies.

68 year old Victor Cushman and his wife Joan parked their car at the end of Long Beach Road just before 5:30 p.m. The walked about a quarter mile farther into a wooded area. There is a small island about 50 yards from shore that they own, and Victor decided to swim out to the island and leave a marker on it so he could find it while he is on his boat, offshore.

He put on a life vest and swam to the island at about 5:30 p.m. He let her know he made it by yelling to her. She said it was getting dark, so she walked back to their car to get a flashlight. When she returned, however, she couldn’t find him and when she yelled for him, she said she got no response. She returned to her car and called the Sheriff’s Office for help.

Deputies Jaime Miranda, David Fernandez and Sgt. Charlene Sprinkle-Huff responded. They began searching the area and, just before 8 p.m., they finally heard a voice coming from the island across the channel, about 50 yards away. Deputy Chris Fraser also arrived to assist and had in his issued equipment a ResQ Disc, a floatation device with a rope attached the Sheriff’s Office issues to all deputies. Paramedics responded to the scene as well, and they were able to provide more rope which was attached to the rope on the disc. Deputy Fernandez took off his gun belt and waded into the water in an attempt to reach Cushman; Deputy Miranda also went into the water, and tossed the ResQ Disc to Fernandez. Deputy Fernandez swam with the Disc to Cushman. He grabbed Cushman, and Deputy Miranda pulled them both in to shore safely. Cushman, who was extremely cold and exhausted, was turned over to waiting paramedics for treatment.

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