MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) — On July 4, SCDNR officer Tommy Buckhannon and his partner were working on Bird Island, several hundred yards from the mouth of the Intracoastal Waterway, when their radios crackled.
“There was a person involved in an accident floating in the water,” he recalled.
Then, he heard the location.
“We looked out in front of us and saw a male subject floating in the water,” he said.
That man was 22-year old Kyle Hollingsworth, who was in town for the holiday. He had taken his jet ski out for a spin, something his mother said he had been doing for years.
No one knows how, but Hollingsworth had fallen off his jet ski. No one knows how long he had been floating, either. Enough time, Buckhannon’s supervisor said, that he should have been dead.
Buckhannon said Hollingsworth had been wearing a life jacket, which was the only reason he was able to be found.
“To sum it up, it was us being there at the right time,” Buckhannon said.
The two officers, plus a good Samaritan, hauled Hollingsworth out of the water and began trying to save his life. A local tow boat operator began communicating with the Coast Guard, who relayed the emergency to other agencies.
Then began the four mile journey to a boat landing, where nearby, a helicopter would be waiting to fly to Grand Strand Medical Center.