On September 9, 2023, Ventura County Copter 9 located and rescued a 49-year-old kayaker who had capsized approximately 6 miles from the Oxnard shoreline.
At approximately 2:20 PM the Ventura County Fire Department received a 911 phone call requesting assistance in locating the victim, later identified as Blair Boyle. Staffed with a pilot, crew chief, rescue swimmer, and volunteer Search & Rescue Paramedic, Ventura County Copter 9 was dispatched and provided GPS coordinates for Blair’s approximate location. Ventura County Sheriff’s Boat 1, Ventura County Harbor Patrol and Ventura County Fire Department Boat 15 were also dispatched.
Ventura County Copter 9 responded to the area of the GPS coordinates and immediately located Blair floating in the water clinging to his kayak which was partially submerged but still floating. Copter 9’s crew deployed their rescue swimmer who contacted Blair and determined he was without injury. Blair was quickly hoisted from the water into Copter 9 with the aid of a rescue basket where he was evaluated by the on-board paramedic. Blair’s kayak was recovered by Sheriff’s Boat 1 and later returned to Blair. Blair was then flown to Oxnard airport where he was reunited with family.
Blair told rescuers he had paddled to Anacapa Island earlier in the morning and was returning to Oxnard Harbor when he accidentally overturned his kayak. He attempted to right the kayak several times but was unsuccessful before using his cell phone to call for help. Blair estimated he was in the water for nearly an hour before being rescued.
The Ventura County Aviation Unit would like to take this opportunity to remind the public about a few simple steps that could save your life if you experience an emergency in the outdoors. Remember to let
others know where you plan on going, your planned route, and when to expect your return. Be aware of the weather, take plenty of water/snacks, and a back-up communication device such as a personal locator beacon (PLB). Being prepared and having a few simple essentials could save your life.
The Ventura County Aviation Unit is a partnership between the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office and the Ventura County Fire Department. Together the agencies provide staffing to the unit and respond to a variety of missions to include firefighting, search and rescue, medical calls, and law enforcement. The unit is staffed 365 days a year with highly trained Firefighters and Deputy Sheriffs. The Aviation Unit patrols and responds to all cites and areas of Ventura County regardless of which municipal police or fire department has primary jurisdiction.