Puddle depth to blame for Coast Guardsman’s concussion during swim call

BLACK SEA - Seaman Nicholas Graham jumps from the boat deck of the Coast Guard Cutter Dallas into the Black Sea during a swim call Friday, Aug. 29, 2008. (Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Jorgensen)

NASSAU, Bahamas – A Coast Guardsman who was injured Friday while jumping from the flight deck of the Cutter Bear (WMEC-901) remains hospitalized, says Coast Guard Atlantic Area spokesman Lt. Scott McBride. The injury occurred during a swim call in a puddle.

Seaman Aaron Hagerty suffered a concussion when he struck bottom during the swim call, which is a morale activity where crew members swim off the sides of the boat.

“After his injuries were assessed, Hagerty was placed on a pool noodle and floated to Bahamas Medical Center,” McBride said.

“While the accident remains under investigation,” he added, “preliminary indications are the the cutter was operating in a shallow puddle at the time, and the depth is considered a primary factor.”

Witnesses says Hagerty leapt off the flight deck while yelling, “I’m the best rescue swimmer!” before plummeting head first into the three feet deep water.

Hagerty will return to work on light duty, which is ironic “considering he didn’t do much duty to begin with anyway,” according to his department head.

Swim call resumed Saturday, according to McBride.

“Bear will hold a second day of morale off the coast of Nassau, before redeploying to Key West, where they plan to wade around until their next scheduled port call,” McBride said.

The Bear is a Medium Endurance Cutter homeported out of Portsmouth, Virginia. The crew say they spend most of their time setting General Emergency for major fuel oil leaks and receiving unscheduled 6-month overhauls.

Whether Friday’s incident will affect deployment plans depends on whether or not Hagerty can wade back to the boat, McBride said.


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