The Alaska Coast Guard rescued three people and two dogs whose inflatable pink flamingo raft was pushed onto rocks by the wind on Monashka Bay off Kodiak Island. The Saturday incident was videotaped by Larry Hagen who works at Buoy 4 AK. The group was celebrating a birthday.
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As Spence, her two friends and two small dogs got situated in the raft, the winds and currents picked up and swept the flamingo into the frigid waters of Monashka Bay – and toward the Gulf of Alaska.
“I panicked right away,” Spence told The Washington Post on Monday night. “We didn’t have anything to move ourselves and the wind was strong. My mind went to the worst place.”
Over the next hour, the flamingo moved wherever the wind and current took it, eventually snagging against a cluster of rocks covered with sharp barnacles. It soon took on water and slowly began to deflate…
The ordeal, first reported by the Alaska Landmine, made a stir among locals, many of whom watched from their porches after spotting the bright pink flamingo floating aimlessly. It was an odd sight given that Monashka Bay, off the northeast coast of Kodiak Island, is more often used for fishing or kayaking.Anchorage Daily News
But winds in Alaska are notorious for rapid changes, and Spence assumed that because they had no issues on a previous rafting trip in the bay, everything would be fine this time.
Around 4 p.m., Spence inflated the raft near the northwest corner of the bay along with her roommate Lepa Sega, 23, and Lepa’s brother, Nation Sega, 29. After loading the flamingo’s built-in cooler with nonalcoholic drinks and throwing in snacks, blankets, towels and extra clothes in case they got cold, they pushed the raft into the shallow water just off the beach.
Then they joined the dogs, Dallas, a Chihuahua, and Ping Ping, a pug, on board. But they soon noticed something was wrong…
The oversized flamingo had been caught in a combination of wind and currents that were sweeping them away from shore. The friends tried and failed to paddle their way closer to shore. Spence said she is “terrified of the ocean” and began to panic, adding that her friends don’t know how to swim. She told them to call 911.ADN
A State Police Boat arrived, followed by the Alaska Coast Guard helicopter. They were airlifted one by one from the stranded pink flamingo. The owner of the pink bird recovered the deflated raft. But Spence said she isn’t excited about going out again any time soon.
An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak hoisted three people with two dogs stranded on offshore rocks near Kodiak today after their raft was swept across Monashka Bay!
Alaska State Troopers and the #USCG worked together to determine that due to the treacherous circumstances, a helicopter hoist was the best option to bring these folks and their animals back to shore, safe and sound!USCG Alaska
Thank you to every single one of you gentlemen & every kodiak resident that cared, reported & made sure we were ok! I will NEVER forget my 30th birthday!!Hollie Spence
Featured photo: screenshot via Larry Hagen video
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