BY NAVAL SPECIAL WARFARE COMMAND PUBLIC AFFAIRS — Sailors from Special Boat Team 20 helped rescue nine people July 7 from an overturned tourist boat in the Delaware River.
According to Philadelphia police, the boat was struck by a barge and capsized, throwing 35 passengers and two crew members in the water.
Twelve Special Warfare Boat Operators at nearby Penn’s Landing immediately responded to a radio distress call and sped to the scene in small boats to recover people in the river.
“We were the first responders,” said Garrett Rodriguez, a Special Boat Operator 1st Class from Maui, Hawaii. “Some of us jumped out and started grabbing people. They were just exhausted, in shock.”
Rodriguez said some of his team members pulled people into boats, while others jumped off a jetty and swam to tourists struggling in the water.
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Patrick Perdew, a 33-year-old Louisville, Ky. medic assigned to the boat team, said the nine passengers they rescued didn’t have discernible injuries and were ambulatory when they brought them ashore.
The Navy crew members worked together with the Coast Guard, Philadelphia Police and fire rescue teams.
“We were just happy to help,” said Capt. Chuck Wolf, the commander of Naval Special Warfare Group 4. “The city responders deserve all of the credit, but our guys really showed why the Navy is ‘America’s Navy: A Global Force for Good,’ and it shows our ability to adapt to our surroundings and assist with any and all situations.”
The boat team was in Philadelphia to attend community relations functions and was preparing to to get underway and return to their base in Virginia Beach.
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