An Island Girl Charters captain was in the right place at the right time June 23 to offer assistance in transporting a patient from North Captiva Island to Pineland Marina for further medical attention.
Upper Captiva Fire Department Fire Chief Richard Pepper said the department received a report that a man was down due to unknown medical distress. He said they responded with utility vehicles and a medical vehicle, but unfortunately the call was made as Tropical Storm Debby was hovering over Southwest Florida.
"Unfortunately it was during bad weather," he said.
They encountered eight-inch deep salt water, which killed their rescue vehicles.
Capt. Kevin Tomanek of Island Girl Charters said he had between 10-12 customers he was dropping off at the docks of Barnacle Phil's Harbor Restaurant June 23 during his 3 p.m. run. He said as he was pulling up to the dock he saw a gentleman on the ground with fire rescue assisting him.
The gentleman had a seizure, Tomanek said, and fell into the water and his wife was holding his head above the water.
"The wife and the patron got him on the dock and we did an assessment," Pepper said.
They called for medical transport by air, but with tropical storm weather conditions it could not be done.
"Island Girl Charters confirmed with one of the captains that they could take the patient over," Pepper said.
Tomanek brought the patient and two EMTs back across the water to Pineland Marina. The water, Tomanek said, was rough and it was raining pretty good during the 20-minute trip from Captiva to Pineland.
Tomanek said the patient was escorted to Pineland Marina because it is the home base of the charter business and it is the closest marina to where they were coming from.
"When we got here, there were fire rescue and an ambulance waiting for them," he said.
Pepper said Island Girl Charters transported two people off the island for them that weekend. Both of those calls, he said, were during high stages of flooding on the north end of the island.
This is the first time Tomanek has assisted the Upper Captiva Fire Department with a rescue with Island Girl Charters. He began working for the company at the beginning of the year.
"Feels good," he said.