Troopers Revive Fisherman on Bristol Bay Beach

Friday, June 29 2012

Two Unalaska-based Alaska State Troopers brought a Bristol Bay fisherman back to life after a near drowning on Thursday.

Fifty-four year old Jose Orendez and his adult son were heading from their fishing boat to shore in a 12-foot Zodiac when it capsized, sending the pair into the icy waters near Egegik, on the Alaska Peninsula. Both were wearing lifejackets, but Orendez got caught in a set-net line and wasn’t able to make it to shore. By the time bystanders got him to the beach, Orendez had stopped breathing. 

Trooper regional commander Will Ellis says that’s when Trooper Jason Ball and Public Safety Technician Shawn Olsen arrived on scene.

“Somebody goes ‘do you know CPR? He’s not breathing.' And so Jason immediately started CPR. He directed Shawn to get on the radio and phone and call in more rescue assets. He got ahold of our office in King Salmon, he also got ahold of the P/V Stimson, which was operating in that area too, and they got a skiff in the water and heading that way to support Jason and Shawn.”

For fifteen minutes, Ball gave Orendez CPR with no response. When reinforcements showed up from the Stimson, Boat Officer Dan Pulice took over for another ten minutes of compressions before Orendez started showing signs of life.

“And they’re doing this on the beach. When we got down there Jason’s just caked with the mud from the beach all over his pants and things and he’d just been working hard. And Dan too. The guys were just… not only is it physically exhausting, it’s very emotionally taxing too.”

By the time Orendez could breath on his own, further reinforcements had arrived and they transported him to the airport for evacuation to Anchorage. Lt. Ellis says the day could have ended very differently.

“Their immediate response and professional actions just really made the difference in somebody living or not living.”

Orendez is reported to be conscious and in stable condition. The responders are back out on duty, monitoring the busy Bristol Bay salmon season. Ball and Pulice are normally based in Unalaska, but are out on patrol with the Stimson through July.

Gary Gray on Saturday, June 30 2012:

Thank you to all of those in public service. The world is a better place because of you.

John Healey on Saturday, June 30 2012:

This reinforces the old CPR slogan relating to cold water immersion, "You're not dead until you're warm and dead." Your persistence under difficult circumstances paid off and I'm certain is appreciated by the fleet and the Egegik community.

Kerry Mahoney on Saturday, June 30 2012:

Jason and Shawn and Stimson crew- thank you for not giving up on this man! I'm very encouraged by this.

Sue Honan on Saturday, June 30 2012:

Way to go Jason and Shawn, and everyone else who puts their life on the line regularly for our safety! Hats off to you!

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