Coast Guard honors Good Samaritans who saved four lives

Julia LeDoux
October 04, 2019 - 9:56 am
Coast Guard awards

United States Coast Guard


When a passenger boat carrying seven people capsized in rough surf off Santa Verde Point, California first responders and bystanders swung into action, saving four lives.

The Good Samaritans were honored by the Coast Guard during a ceremony this week at Base Los Angeles-Long Beach.

"It was an honor and privilege to recognize these first responders for their courageousness and selfless acts of heroism,” said Capt. Monica Rochester, the Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach commander. "The actions performed on June 25, 2016, are a tribute to the spirit of seafaring partnership the Coast Guard always looks to facilitate."  

Daniel Black was awarded the Coast Guard's second-highest award for maritime valor, the Silver Lifesaving Medal. He had been on a routine patrol for Catalina Island Conservancy when he saw the boat capsize.  He ran more than a mile to the beach and began providing emergency medical aid to survivors. After assisting onshore, he learned that one person was stuck under the hull of the capsized vessel. Black waded into eight-foot breaking waves to drag the individual from the boat.

United States Coast Guard

Black, who is in the Army said he was both humbled and felt lucky to receive the recognition.

"I was new to Catalina when this happened,” Black explained. “I couldn't have done what I did alone. It took teamwork, physical fitness, and a great support network to help save those people."

Capt. Robert Pelkey, Brian Kari, and Jeff Wilk, of the Los Angeles County Fire Department-Lifeguard Division, received certificates of valor. They were part of a boat crew that plucked survivors from the water.

"It's great to be part of the maritime community on Catalina Island,” said Pelkey. "Receiving this recognition today was such a tremendous honor."

United States Coast Guard

John Ivins of San Clemente was also awarded a certificate of valor. He had been fishing when he saw the vessel capsize. After leading other responders toward individuals in the water, Ivins boarded a dinghy and used a life ring to pull a survivor 50 feet to safety.

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