Being rescued by the Coast Guard while out on the water or a hike is not entirely unusual in Kodiak. But it is if you’re being dragged out to sea on a giant inflatable flamingo.
It was a picturesque summer Saturday last weekend in Kodiak. Nation Sega, his sister, her roommate and dogs were enjoying the sunny skies and warm temperatures out in Monashka Bay, about 5 miles from the city of Kodiak.
It’s a common spot for recreators to fish, swim, surf, and kayak. But Sega and his friends brought something different: A pink inflatable flamingo.
“We usually do it in a lake, where we’re usually more cautious,” Sega said. “But Saturday we were just having too much fun and not paying attention.”
They weren’t worried at first, but by afternoon, the winds picked up and pulled the flamingo riders out across the bay.
“Then we were in the middle of nowhere at one point, but we just called 911, and were ‘Okay, we don’t have any paddles or lifejackets. Can you send someone out here?’ We were hanging out waiting for someone to show up,” Sega said.
As they waited for rescue, the flamingo drifted toward some offshore rocks until they finally ran aground.
About an hour later, an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak came to their rescue, hoisting them up.
“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!” the Coast Guard said on Facebook.
The Alaska Troopers recovered the flamingo, but have not yet returned it to its owners. Sega said he intends to get it back. He and his fellow flamingo riders plan to ride it out again — but next time, they’ll be more prepared.
KMXT’s Dylan Simard also contributed to this story.