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UPDATE | Rescued teenagers had been adrift for five hours
A teenage boy and girl who were rescued from the waters of Port Orchard Bay had been adrift for about five hours before they were found by a Coast Guard helicopter Tuesday night.
The search began after a resident near Illahee State Park called authorities just before 7 p.m. Nov. 19 and reported hearing someone in the water calling for help. The caller also saw a small white light out on the water.
The Coast Guard launched a 45-foot response boat from Seattle, and
a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Port Angeles that was on a training flight was diverted to assist in the search.
The Bainbridge Island Fire Department also sent a boat to search the water between the island and East Bremerton, and the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue and the Bainbridge Island Police Department also joined in the search in the water and along the shore.
Assistant Chief Luke Carpenter of the Bainbridge Island Fire Department said the crew on the Coast Guard helicopter, which was equipped with forward-looking infrared cameras, found the two teens in a small dinghy that was taking on water.
Shortly after 8 p.m., Carpenter said, the two juveniles were brought aboard the Coast Guard vessel.
The two teenagers were then transferred to the Bainbridge Island Fire Department's boat and brought back to Fort Ward, where they were brought ashore for a medical evaluation.
Afterward, the two teens were taken to Harrison Hospital in Bremerton for further evaluation and treatment of hypothermia.
Carpenter said the pair had launched their boat in the Rocky Point area of Bremerton and had been adrift for hours.
"Apparently their little journey began about 3 o'clock in the afternoon," Carpenter said.
Both of the teens were wet from bailing water out of the boat, which was described as a dinghy between 8 and 10 feet in length.
Carpenter said the multi-jurisdictional response went like clockwork.
"It's a good example of how these incidents get managed and have a successful outcome," he said.