"She did a great job of staying on her raft that was not a lifesaving device and could have easily tipped over at any moment," the Coast Guard said

By Joelle Goldstein
June 24, 2020 11:02 AM
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The little girl
Courtesy Photo U.S. Coast Guard District 7 PADET San Juan

A little girl has survived after her inflatable raft got swept out to sea on Monday afternoon, the United States Coast Guard announced.

The child, who was between 4 to 6-years-old, was on the plastic raft when she got pulled deeper into the waters at the beach near the Palo Seco power plant in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, according to a press release from the U.S. Coast Guard.

However, thanks to the quick actions of the Coast Guard and bystanders on the beach, along with the fact that the girl was wearing a life jacket, she was safely rescued and brought back to shore.

"This brave little girl was very fortunate to survive this ordeal," Petty Officer 2nd Class Jesse Wilde, Coast Guard Boat Station San Juan coxswain, said in a statement. "She did a great job of staying on her raft that was not a lifesaving device and could have easily tipped over at any moment. She was also wearing a life jacket."

The inflatable raft
Courtesy Photo U.S. Coast Guard District 7 PADET San Juan

Just before 4 p.m., the Coast Guard's watchstanders in San Juan said they received a 911 call with a report of a child being swept out to sea.

Crew members from the Coast Guard Boat Station San Juan were sent out on a 33-foot Special Purpose Craft ship to search for the child, the Coast Guard said.

An Urgent Marine Information Broadcast was also issued to notify boaters in the area to be on the lookout of a potential child sighting, according to the press release.

The Coast Guard boat crew then worked with Sector San Juan watchstanders and Samuel Cruz Valcárcel, a bystander who was on the beach, to help them zone in on the location of the child on the raft.

Moments later, authorities said the girl was discovered over half a mile off the beach near Isla de Cabras in Toa Baja.

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Coast Guard crews safely recovered the child from the raft before providing her with an additional life jacket and blanket to make her "warm and comfortable aboard."

Once ashore, she was transferred to responding to local emergency authorities and transported to a local hospital "as a precaution for further evaluation," the press release stated.

At this time, it is unclear who the child was with at the beach and if anyone was supervising her while she was in the water.

"Despite the situation she was in good spirits, we'll never forget her smile once she realized she was safe," Wilde said in a statement. "I am proud of the entire crew and of our watchstanders, our training, experience, and the coordination with a Good Samaritan at the beach allowed us to quickly locate this young child and bring her to safety."