OWL VFD Responds to Missing Person, Jet Ski

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Provided by the OWL VFD

As OWL Fire and Rescue Boats were returning from a previous incident at approximately 9:30 last evening, Belmont Bay Marina security flagged them down to report a missing jet ski and person. After gathering the required information, OWL Fireboat 502’s operator notified Prince William Communications of the incident and request additional assistance from Fairfax Fire / Rescue and Police Helicopter, along with Charles County Fire and Rescue.OWL VFD Fire Rescue Logo

Additional information revealed that the missing jet skier could have been anywhere between Alexandria and Dumfries, Virginia on the Potomac River. An eyewitness reported seeing the jet skier heading south on the Occoquan River at approximately 7 p.m., but did not have a direction of travel on the Potomac River.

The US Coast Guard, Maryland and Virginia Natural Resources were summoned for assistance as all fire and rescue boats began a search of the vast area.

At approximately 9:50 p.m. a request was made to perform a “ping” of the persons cell phone. This process can take 30 or more minutes to complete the required paperwork and approval process before the information is returned. Within 10 minutes of the data being returned and relayed, OWL Fireboat 502 spotted the missing jet ski in the vicinity of the “ping”. A few seconds later, Fairfax Police helicopter spotted the missing person in the water a short distance away.

The missing person and jet ski were safely returned to the marina.

This incident was closed out quickly utilizing cellphone technology to focus search and rescue resources and save valuable time.  When used correctly and in accordance with protocol, this technology is a valuable tool for Fire / EMS / Police agencies, greatly increasing the chances of survival during an emergency.

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