A local Coast Guard unit rescued a disorientated boater this morning off the New Jersey coast ending a two-day search.
A phone call to Coast Guard Group Atlantic City yesterday at approximately 5
p.m. by the wife of the disorientated boater stated that Ron Cichonski, 36,
of Brigantine, N.J., called from his cell phone stating he was running out
of fuel, his compass inoperable, could not see land and asking her to call
the Coast Guard for help. Because Cichonski's cell phone was not working and
he did not have a marine radio, the preferred and more reliable method for
communicating distress to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard only had a vague
idea where to search resulting in a large search area and many rescue craft
to cover a 50-miles by 50-miles search area off the N.J. coast.
Rescue helicopters from Coast Guard Group Air Station Atlantic City, rescue
boats from Coast Guard Station Atlantic City, a C-130 aircraft from Coast
Guard Air Station Elizabeth City as well units from the New Jersey State
Police, Brigantine and Ocean City police departments all searched for
Cichonski yesterday and this morning.
On the first search this morning a rescue helicopter located Cichonski
25-miles east of Beach Haven. Cichonski was in good condition and not in
distress. A Sea Tow vessel
took Cichonski and his 20-foot vessel into port.
"We searched over 2,500 square miles, about twice the size of Rhode Island,
for Mr. Cichonski. The important thing is that he is safe, but with the
proper use of a marine radio or flares he may have been found much sooner,"
said CDR Joseph Kelly, Operations Officer for Group Air Station Atlantic