Auxiliary Members Save Surfer

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There's nothing like saving a life in your spare time. A volunteer pilot and his observer with the Coast Guard Auxiliary are credited with initiating the successful rescue of a kite surfer off the coast of central California on Thursday. Pilot Dan Lavi and Air Observer Sue Fry, both auxiliary members, were on routine patrol when they spotted a sail in the water off Sherman Island State Wild Area. After descending for a closer look, they found the surfer unable to control the sail in the high winds. They radioed for help and, thanks to some Good Samaratins in the area, the rescue was a success. The closest Coast Guard vessel was about 45 minutes away so the station at Rio Vista radioed a PAN PAN to private vessels in the area asking for help. As the auxiliary aircraft circled overhead, two pleasure boats responded and the surfer was pulled from the water and put aboard a speed boat. The surfer wasn't able to get out of the boat on shore so the boat was loaded on a trailer and pulled out of the water. The aircraft acted as an escort during the rescue and resumed its patrol when the surfer was safely ashore. The Coast Guard Auxiliary has at least 24 private aircraft approved for use and hundreds of people are involved in supporting the Coast Guard on a variety of missions ranging from search and rescue to ice patrol.