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.