Sunday, February 25, 2018

MIFRD Rescues Stranded Kayakers


The Marco Island Fire Rescue Department rescued Erika Noda and Camilo Quintero early Sunday morning November 5.

The Marco Island Fire Rescue Department rescued Erika Noda and Camilo Quintero early Sunday morning November 5.

Fort Lauderdale residents Camilo Quintero and Erika Noda wanted to do something spontaneous. It was a Saturday and the young couple, both 21 years old, had their eyes set on the west coast of Florida. They had plans for an impromptu kayak trip.

Camilo and Erika set off for Brush Island, a picturesque mangrove islet located off the coast of Goodland. It’s a quiet, isolated spot situated between Coon Key and Jackfish Island. It’s the perfect place for a weekend getaway.

“We planned to kayak to the island and paint and just sleep under the stars and play some music,” Erika said.

Camilo Quintero and Erika Noda painting on Brush Island before their kayak was washed away by the tide.

Camilo Quintero and Erika Noda painting on Brush Island before their kayak was washed away by the tide.

The couple arrived at Brush Island without incident. Everything was going according to their improvised plan. As the day went on, the Erika and Camilo relaxed on the small beach. They painted in the shade and enjoyed each other’s company.

After a long day in the sun, Camilo and Erika fell asleep.

According to Erika, around 1 AM they woke suddenly. Wet and disoriented, they looked around. The tide had risen significantly; they now found themselves surrounded by water.

“The tide had risen while we slept, so we became very limited on land,” Erika said. “We woke up soaked.”

The situation was alarming. As they looked around they realized the strong current had also swept away their kayak. This meant that their only mode of transportation off the island was gone. The couple was stranded.

With both of their phones at 10 percent battery life, they quickly contacted emergency services. Luckily, their calls went through.

The Marco Island Fire Rescue Department (MIFRD) Fire Boat 50 was dispatched to Brush Island in the early hours of Sunday morning. Both Fire Boat 50 and Fire Boat 90 responded to the call.

“Thank goodness we were able to contact them before our phones died,” Erika said.

The rescue teams picked Camilo and Erika around 3:30 AM and safely transported them to the Goodland Boat Ramp. Neither sustained any injuries.

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