Several rescue groups coordinated their efforts to save a distressed swimmer who was calling for help in the Beaufort River on Wednesday morning, according to a Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Department news release.
The swimmer told officials that he lives on a sailboat and awoke to find his kayak had drifted into the marsh.
According to the news release, he got into the water to swim to the kayak but found the current was too strong, and he was swept away.
A bystander heard his cries and called 911.
The swimmer was shivering and very cold when he was finally pulled into a boat and brought back to the landing, according to the release.
He had been wearing a life jacket and waving, calling out for help near the Pigeon Point Boat Landing, almost to the eastern entrance of Albergotti Creek, the news release said.
It was unclear how long he had been in the water.
A boat crew from the Marine Corps Air Station Fire Department was the first out on the water in that area, and they were able to bring the man back to land, according to the release. He was transported to a hospital by Beaufort County EMS for a medical evaluation.
“Even in warm weather, a long amount of time in water that is lower than your body temperature can create a situation where hypothermia can set in," Acting Battalion Chief Lt. Ross Vezin said.
“Water temperatures are in the low 70’s right now and even that can be a cause for concern in a scenario like this,” he said.
In addition to Beaufort firefighters, Beaufort Water Search and Rescue, the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Paris Island Fire Department and the Marine Corps Air Station Fire Department all responded to aid in the water rescue. Beaufort Police Department, Beaufort County EMS and S.C. Department of Natural Resources also responded.