Officials: Missing jet skiers swim to safety in Suffolk

Credit: Suffolk Fire & Rescue

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Two missing jet skiers were found overnight after Suffolk officials say they swam to safety when their jet skis became disabled.

Officials say Suffolk Fire and Rescue crews were called just after midnight on Monday to help search for two jet skiers who were reported missing.

Two men, ages 35 and 50, had not returned from their planned trip to the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge Tunnel.

Officials say they left from the 2800 block of North Shore Drive around 6:30 p.m. Family members called the U.S. Coast Guard, who launched a helicopter and boat.

The jet skis were found tied up at the site of the former Bennett’s Creek Restaurant on Ferry Road.

One of the men, Brian Sawyer told WAVY.com, “We never panicked and we joked around with each other we never felt we were in any danger.”

Sawyer, an experienced jet skier said that he never goes into the water unprepared. He had with him life jackets, a whistle and tow rope. He did not, however, have a cell phone. He pledged to never go out again without one.

Family members received a call from the men at 2:30 a.m. to report that they were safe, officials say.

It was later found that the men’s jet skis had mechanical failures.

Officials say the men — who were wearing life jackets — swam from the channel for hours, pulling the disabled jet skis to that location on Ferry Road. They then walked to the Farm Fresh on Bridge Road where they used someone’s cell phone to call their family.

The two men were medically assessed, but were not taken to the hospital. Crews towed their disabled jet skis to the boat ramp at Bennett’s Creek Park.