Dolphins and An Unbelievable Ocean Rescue
A true story of an inexperienced sailor rescuing a young woman who was fighting for her survival in water for 12 hours!
October 21, 2021
By: Khosrow (Koz) Khosravani, Marina Del Rey. This story has been edited for length.
On my first attempt to sail outside the Marina del Rey harbor, I saved a very young woman in the middle of the ocean. I am still shaking about the horror she faced for 12 hours in the darkness in the ocean with no life jacket or anything whatsoever.
I am not religious nor that spiritual but one must wonder about this universe! Consider these facts:
1: I acquired this boat just about a month or so ago and learned sailing just a few weeks ago!
2: Last week I took a basic sailing course that shows how to rescue crew overboard. Also on my own initiative, I got my CA boater's license.
3: I ordered from Amazon two pieces of rescue equipment two weeks ago, and we ended up needing both for the effective rescue!
4: Before departing the port for Paradise Cove destination in Malibu coast, I spent roughly an hour training my 3 guests (non-sailors) on safety issues and ON RESCUE plan if any of us fall into the wate.! I told them that such a situation will not occur in years but you never know. Now, we know!
How did she end up in the middle of the ocean? According to MDR Harbor Sheriff and the LA County Fire Department rescue boat captain Captain Matt Rhodes, she went swimming all alone on Saturday near midnight. She could not make it back to the land and drifted over the next 12 hours to a few miles offshore. She is a true fighter, who defied the odds and survived in the cold water.
We noticed her thanks to a pod of dolphins who swam next to her before noon on Sunday Sept 26th. I had to pass her twice. First, I asked one of the guests to point to the survivor's location with her finger at ALL times so I would know the location regardless of the waves; then a really fast approach to reach her vicinity, and then I asked guest #1 to throw the square-shape life-saver towards the survivor to hold on to; Second, I performed an infinity sign approach so the survivor would get between the wind and the boat (did not want the boat to crash into her). Third, I asked my 2nd guest to throw an orange 70 ft rope (Thanks Amazon) so the survivor can let go of the first device (or keep both) and grab the rope for us to pull her gently towards the boat ( she let go of the first device); then I asked my 3rd guest to untie the ropes and release the ladder in the back of the boat into the ocean for the final stage of rescue; then when the survivor was next to the center of the boat in water, I turned off the outboard engine (so the engine blade wouldn't cut her body). We pulled her towards the ladder, and then it took two strong men (thanks Gold's Gym Venice Beach) to pull her up (she had zero muscle function to help us) and 2 other guests (thanks ladies) went to saloon downstairs and got dry towels, water, and a thick blanket.
At this point, I sent an emergency "Mayday" transmission for the US Coast Guard (the night before I'd made sure the VHF radio was fully charged and I learned how to use it) Special thanks to LA County Rescue Boat Captain Matt Rhodes and his partner - you guys are heroes.
The survivor is in stable condition and is well at UCLA Ronald Reagan Hospital.
The survivor DEFIED the odds. The sailing vessel DEFIANT was CHOSEN to find her - over and out!