State Police rescue jetskiers stranded in Ocean City marshes during low tide

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OCEAN CITY , NJ – On Wednesday, June 2, two troopers from the New Jersey State Police Aviation Unit and two medical staff members from University Hospital rescued three jet-skiers who were stranded in a marshy area in Ocean City, N.J.At approximately 8:20 p.m., troopers from the Marine Services Bureau were dispatched to the report of three stranded jet-skiers in a marsh near the Ocean City Airport.

The mother of one of the jet-skiers reported they were in a location where they could not make it back to shore because of the mud and marsh. Sergeant First Class Rodney Goodson, of the State Police Point Pleasant Station, was familiar with the area and determined that it would take too long to get an airboat to the location.

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The tide had just went out and there was a threat of thunderstorms forecasted for the area. SFC Goodson knew that if they were not rescued quickly, they could be at risk for hypothermia and be stranded overnight. At this time, SFC Goodson requested assistance from the Aviation Unit.

A short time later, pilot Sergeant Eric Schmitt and co-pilot Trooper I John Steet along with flight nurse Rich Harris and flight paramedic Tracy Connellan were dispatched to the area. While enroute, the troopers were advised by Operational Dispatch Unit that a U.S. Coast Guard vessel and sea tow vessel were in the area and had visual contact but were unable to get to the stranded riders.

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When Sgt. Schmitt and Tpr. I Steet arrived on scene, they located the stranded jet-skiers approximately 200 feet from the shoreline of the airport. Due to the high levels of the mud, the victims could not walk to shore, so Sgt. Schmitt and Tpr. I Steet knew they had a limited amount of time.

They quickly lowered the helicopter and maintained a hover just inches from the ground. Sgt. Schmitt and Tpr. I Steet navigated to each jet-skier, where each victim was able to climb directly from their individual jet-skis into the helicopter with the assistance of flight nurse Harris and flight paramedic Connellan.

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The victims were transported to the Ocean City Airport, where they were met by medical personnel. They were treated and released.