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Elderly Man Reunites With Coast Guard Members Who Saved His Life

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– An 80-year-old man had a special reunion when he reunited with the people who saved his life.

Two months ago, Jack Van Ommen’s boat, the Fleetwood, ran aground in the Chesapeake Bay and began taking on water in the middle of the night.

In Portsmouth, Virginia, operation specialist, Brittany Wygand, was on the team of watch standers who took the mayday call and initiated the rescue.

“It’s definitely a humbling experience to know that our job here is assisting and saving lives,” Wygand said.

It was the first time she has ever met someone she has helped save.

“With your help, I’m getting another lease on life. It’s as simple as that. So thank you very much from the bottom of my heart,” Van Ommen said.

On scene, rescue swimmer, Sam Fuller said his adrenaline was pumping getting Van Ommen out of the water and it was his first rescue.

“Saw him down in the water, they hoisted me down about 75 yards from where he was. I swam over to him and pulled him out of the raft,” Fuller said.

The Coast Guard said the rescue was made easier by the fact that Van Ommen had all of the safety gear necessary to make finding him easy.

Van Ommen said his priority now is getting the Fleetwood fixed and back out on the water.

Quick coordination and a helicopter were able to bring Van Ommen back to safety.

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