TOA BAJA, Puerto Rico. – The U.S. Coast Guard rescued a young girl Monday afternoon after the lollipop-shaped inflatable raft that she was on drifted out to sea off the coast of Toa Baja, Puerto Rico.
According to Coast Guard officials, they were alerted about the incident shortly before 4 p.m.
They said a Good Samaritan at the beach, Samuel Cruz Valcárcel, spoke to a boat crew on the phone and helped guide them to where the girl was.
The girl, who officials said was between 4 and 6 years old, was found more than a half-mile offshore.
Crew members rescued her and gave her a blanket to keep warm.
“This brave little girl was very fortunate to survive this ordeal. 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,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jesse Wilde, Coast Guard Boat Station San Juan coxswain for the case. “Despite the situation, she was in good spirits. We’ll never forget her smile once she realized she was safe. 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.”
Coast Guard officials said the girl was taken to shore and authorities took her to a local hospital to be evaluated as a precaution.
Officials did not say who the child was with at the beach, but have often cautioned about the risks of using inflatable rafts at the beach.