Stranded boaters saved by kiteboarder off Sullivan’s Island

Stranded boaters saved by kiteboarder off Sullivan’s Island
Published: Aug. 12, 2013 at 11:18 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 13, 2013 at 7:05 PM EDT
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(source: Ryan Caldwell) Sunken boat
(source: Ryan Caldwell) Sunken boat
JP Lurkin
JP Lurkin

SULLIVAN'S ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - Four stranded boaters were saved with one kite over the weekend.

It happened off Sullivan's Island Saturday after their sailboat overturned and JP Lurkin came to the rescue.

"During the rescue I had to ditch the board and ride like this," said Lurkin as he demonstrated the rescue.

He used a kiteboarding survival technique called "body dragging."

Lurkin said, "We use it when we lose our board so we could get back to the board and when coaches are teaching kite surfers, its part of their drilling process."

Kiteboarding up and down the East Coast for about nine years, Lurkin stuck to what he knew when helping the stranded boaters.

Holding the safety leash, Lurkin said, "You can actually stretch this pretty good and I had all four people that were on the sailboat attached to this."

Lurkin says the group was on a J24 sailboat. They ran aground several hundred yards off shore near station 28 ½.

"When they got grounded, the waves were beating against the boat and eventually the keel of the boat actually broke off," said Lurkin.

The keel is a fin-shaped piece that hangs underneath a boat. Once that broke off, water started coming in and it flipped onto its side. All four passengers were dumped into the water.

Lurkin said, "Kind of as a team we just moved to the beach. I'd say by the time we got about a football field away Sullivan's Island Fire Department showed up with their jet skis and supported us the rest of the way in."

A friend of Lurkin's snapped a picture of the boat after it floated under the bridge connecting Sullivan's to the Isle of Palms.

The fin sticking up out of the water serves as a reminder of how dangerous the area can be.

Lurkin said, "I think it looks good for the community of kiters that are out here. I'm not the only one that has pulled people off the breach out here. When somebody's out in trouble in the water I was taught at a young age that you want to pull them out and you want to make sure that they're safe and everything's good."

Lurkin said he noticed one of the boaters had a cut on his leg. He said the man was treated on scene by the Sullivan's Island Fire and Rescue.

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