Two people rescued near Charles Island sandbar

The Milford Fire Department rescued two people from the waters off Silver Sands State Beach Tuesday, Sept. 15, after the people were swept off the sandbar.

Fire officials were on the scene, actually training for that exact situation when the people needed help.

On Tuesday afternoon, department personnel were being trained on the use of Personal Water Craft, commonly known as a jet ski, in rescue situations. While working on beach deployment and landings, a bystander pointed out two people in distress and clinging to a marker buoy about 500 feet offshore.

Fire personnel immediately responded and picked up both people and transported them back to shore. They were assessed for injuries and none were found besides fatigue from fighting the current.

“Both were trying to walk on the sandbar while the tide was covering it and when they realized it was too deep, they began to return to shore,” said Fire Department Spokesman Greg Carman.

“The constant current was able to sweep them off their feet and into deeper water, where they were able to swim to the buoy to wait for help.”

“Lifeguards are not on duty this time of year and the weather is still warm enough for all types of water activities,” Carman said. “If not for the awareness of a bystander and the timing of our training, the outcome could have been worse.”

The Milford Fire Department has purchased a personal watercraft specifically for these situations for a faster response. The training being conducted by Mather Rescue is structured to Milford’s shoreline for not only the sandbar to Charles Island, but also for rescues from the rocky areas on Milford’s eastern shores and the Housatonic River.

“Once training is complete, the PWC will be housed at the beach near the sandbar for the quickest possible response for the numerous incidents we have in this area,” Carman said.