Calm waters turned to water rescues with storm front passing over Chesapeake
SANDY POINT, MD. — Rough seas whipped up by winds from a storm front had lifeguards and NRP Police along with Park Rangers jumping onto boats and swimming to people in distress, report NRP officers.
As storms rocked the Annapolis area Monday evening, a group of off-duty state lifeguards and rangers, and Maryland Natural Resources Police officers teamed up to rescue five people from overturned jet skis off Sandy Point State Park.
Despite being in the water for more than an hour, Carlos Alas and Mirian Alas, their 8-year-old son and an 18-year-old family friend, all of Lanham, escaped with minor injuries. Their 17-year-old son, Oscar Alas, declined treatment.
“The state park lifeguards and rangers along with NRP officers truly made a difference in the lives of these five people,” said DNR Secretary Mark Belton. “They train long and hard just to be ready for an emergency. All that hard work paid dividends last night on the Chesapeake Bay.”
After rescuing the five jet skiers, the NRP officers responded to a distress flare and rescued four other people, including a baby, from a disabled vessel.
The first incident began at about 6:30 p.m., when a young boy ran to the Maryland Park Service lifeguards and rangers, pointing toward the water and saying that a man was yelling for help. The lifeguards and Ranger Maria Reusing ran down East Beach to the water and Ranger Alison Woodfield alerted NRP Sgt. James Johnson, who jumped on a patrol boat and called for backup.
With the skies darkening and the wind churning up whitecaps, lifeguard Nathan Cmiel swam toward Oscar Alas, closely followed by lifeguard Isela Hernandez. Reusing went in behind the two of them to relay information to shore.
“They didn’t hesitate,” said Woodfield of the lifeguards’ actions. “There wasn’t a bit of fear in their eyes.”
Alas told rescuers that there were four others ─ two of them children ─ in the water well beyond the swimming area. All five people were wearing life jackets.
While lifeguards brought Alas to shore and assessed his condition, NRP Sgt. Donald Mackall and Officer Kristen McFarland stood on the beach and directed Johnson to the location of the nearly submerged jet skis and four bobbing heads barely peeking above the waterline.
The Alas parents and youngest son were taken to Anne Arundel Medical Center for treatment of hypothermia.
Johnson and Mackall were towing the disabled jet skis to shore when they saw a distress flare about 300 yards from shore. They turned their patrol boat and raced ahead of the storm to tow the drifting 21-foot powerboat with four aboard.
“The storm was coming in so fast that you could barely see their blue lights,” said Woodfield, who lifted the baby from the boat when it docked and raced for cover as the storm struck.
The family, from Severn, did not require medical attention.