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Two missing divers rescued off Block Island

By Joe Wojtas

Publication: TheDay.com

Published August 26. 2012 7:00PM   Updated August 26. 2012 7:30PM

The Coast Guard has said it rescued two missing divers this morning after they were spotted by the crew of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessel Thomas Jefferson drifting at the surface of the water four miles southwest of Block Island. One of the men is from Madison.

The Coast Guard said the fishing vessel Captain Ron, came upon a diver in the water, identified as Dale Sowle of Westerly, who reported that the two friends he was diving with were missing. The Captain Ron notified the Coast Guard at 9:14 a.m. which then sent out a radio broadcast notifying mariners of the missing divers. The Coast Guard also launched rescue boats from Montauk, N.Y., Point Judith, R.I., and Block Island.

The Thomas Jefferson, which was in the area, began searching for the two divers. Shortly after 10 a.m., the crew of the Thomas Jefferson spotted the two missing men, Jason Williams of Madison, and Dustin Ricci, whose hometown was not available, and notified the Coast Guard. The Thomas Jefferson then guided a 27-foot rescue boat from Station Block Island to Williams and Ricci, where they were recovered and brought to Block Island. The two men, were in good health and did not require medical attention, according to the Coast Guard.

“This is a great example of partner agencies working together as a team to rescue the two missing divers. Having the assistance of the NOAA vessel Thomas Jefferson allowed us to have more eyes on the water searching for these two men, and as a result we were able to get the divers back to shore safely,” said Coast Guard Lt. Chris Billiau, the command duty officer at Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound.


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