On Saturday, a Kodiak-based US Coast Guard helicopter rescued three adults and two small dogs who had been recreating in the ocean on a giant inflatable pink flamingo. According to a statement posted to the US Coast Guard Alaska Facebook page, the inflatable flamingo was swept across Monashka Bay by winds and ran aground on offshore rocks. Monashka Bay, located immediately northwest of the town of Kodiak, opens into the Gulf of Alaska and is a popular local destination for fishing and kayaking.
Kodiak residents Colin Dickey and Katie Gray watched from their deck as the flamingo drifted past. Dickey captured a video, which he posted to Instagram and which Gray shared with the Landmine:
Gray told the Landmine, “We were outside on our porch, and I saw this giant pink flamingo floating across the bay. The first thing I said was ‘Oh another invasive species.’ But we thought it was really odd. It was a nice day, it was warm, but the water certainly wasn’t warm.”
Asked whether she had previously seen similar vessels in Monashka Bay, Gray continued, “It’s not a common occurrence. It gets really deep really quickly and it can get rough quickly. The current gets kinda crazy out there.”
According to the US Coast Guard’s statement, the Troopers and Coast Guard determined that the safest way to rescue the stranded crew of the flamingo and their dogs would be with a helicopter. An MH-60 Jayhawk based out of U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak was dispatched to conduct the rescue.
A video posted to YouTube by user “Buoy4AK” appears to show the dramatic rescue:
Hollie Spence, one of those plucked from the foundering flamingo, thanked those who had contributed to the successful rescue on Facebook:
“Thank you every single one of you gentlemen & every kodiak resident that cared, reported & made sure we were ok! I will NEVER forget my 30th birthday!!”
Update: Spence has confirmed with the Landmine via Facebook that the flamingo was also rescued.
Will they pay anything toward this very expensive rescue? It sounds like they did this on purpose. What did they think would happen? Wind? Water currents? What rational person does this?
The US Coast Guard doesn’t charge for rescues. The general thinking on this is that we pay for federal entities through our tax dollars and conducting rescues is just part of their job. Even from a practical standpoint, it wouldn’t really be worth anyone’s time to try to fight over which rescues should be reimbursed and which shouldn’t.
Do you know the total cost of operating a helicopter per hour? It was very expensive; you’re not endorsing this kind of behavior are you? This may encourage other attention seekers to do something similar. They looked really happy in their picture taken at the airport. If they were issued a $10,000 fine, it may discourage their next brilliant plan. But then again, we’re living in the age of no personal responsibility.
You don’t want a bunch of kids to get lost or injured in the mountains and delay calling for rescue because they were afraid they couldn’t afford it, potentially leading to a horrible result. If you are in an air or auto or boating accident I’ll happily pay my taxes so services are available to rescue you.
You erased my reply? Way to limit a free exchange of ideas. I was saying, we live in an age of no personal responsibility. Without a fine of some kind, this behavior will repeat itself.
I can see your reply starting with “Do you know…”. The Landmine comment section is generally unmoderated. We don’t delete comments except in extreme circumstances. You might try refreshing the page or clearing the cache in your browser.
You erased my comment again? It’s like you don’t want a free exchange of ideas which could prevent a tragedy in the future.
Where these people got stuck is a real short flight by helo from the base. They do practice rescues in Womans Bay all the time. As rescues go, this was a pretty easy one.
I guess some think our tax dollars aren’t real dollars. It’s expensive just to launch a helicopter.
You erased my reply? I just simply said that to some, tax dollars aren’t real dollars. The cost of a rescue? No big deal, just tax dollars.
Your reply is visible.
You erased my comment again?
No, I haven’t erased any replies. I don’t know what you are going on about. I can see all your replies including replies to other comments.
Did the folks have lifejackets on and little animal lifejackets for their dogs?
Did they at least eat the flamingo after drowning it? I don’t think you should kill an animal unless you plan to eat it. Especially after so many tax dollars were spent trying to save it. I hope I still get a refund this year.
“Natural Selection” only “works” when a probable fatal error in judgement (like going to sea in an inflatable flamingo) prohibits procreation.