Video Available: Hurricane survivor gets surprise visit from Coast Guard Petty Officer

united states coast guard 

Feature Release  

Dec. 18, 2017
U.S. Coast Guard 7th District Southeast
Contact: 7th District Public Affairs
Office: 305-415-6683
After Hours: 786-367-7649

Hurricane survivor gets surprise visit from Coast Guard Petty Officer 

Adam Israel, owner of Mafolie Hotel in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, during a reunion Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017 meets Petty Office 3rd Class Kerrigan King, the Coast Guards personnel who Israel spoke with over the VHF-FM radio after Hurricane Maria passed.  

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A St. Thomas hotel owner who survived two Category 5 hurricanes during the 2017 Hurricane Season received an unexpected visitor at his Mafolie Hotel in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Dec. 13, 2017.

A surprised Adam Israel gave a tearful hug to Petty Officer 3rd Class Kerrigan King, a watchstander assigned to Coast Guard Sector San Juan, when she strolled into his hotel restaurant.

The two were first introduced during an emergency VHF-FM radio call Israel made to the Coast Guard minutes after Hurricane Maria’s 165 mph winds and pelting rain subsided and he knew he had survived.  He was anxious to let his family know he had survived and was safe.

Israel’s radio call was answered by King, who was on temporary duty at Coast Guard Operations System Center Martinsburg, West Virginia. Israel explained his situation and relayed his request to contact Israel’s wife and pass on the good news. 

King passed the information Israel's wife and kids that he and the other guests were safe.

Just prior to meeting King, Israel explained why King's actions were so important to him.

“What she did wasn’t a simple act,” he said. “I know how much it meant to my family and the families of those staying with us. I will never forget her voice, not the voice on the initial call, but the voice when she told me how she spoke to my wife."

King expectedly downplayed her actions, however she was equally excited about meeting Israel.

“It is not often that radio watchstanders get to meet the people they assist, this is such an awesome experience,” she said.

The visit was topped off when Israel FaceTimed his wife and introduced her to King. Tears began flowing again as the three retold their stories.

For questions call Mr. Buddy Dye or PA1 Matt Schofield at 340-714-0258.

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