Off-duty Coast Guardsman jumps from boat in Keys, run over by another boat, and survives

An off-duty Coast Guard member was seriously injured last week when he was struck by the propeller of a boat after jumping from a moving vessel in water off the Florida Keys, according to investigators.

The incident, which the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said is alcohol-related, happened May 22 around 2 p.m. off Summerland Key in the Lower Keys, according to the agency’s initial report released to the Miami Herald on Tuesday.

Investigators say Petty Officer 2nd Class Chase Hrynyshyn, 26, was riding on a 17-foot center console Mako boat driven by another serviceman, Petty Officer 1st Class Griffen Lauter, 33, in a channel on the Gulf of Mexico side of the island before he jumped into the water.

A boat following the Mako, a 16-foot Carolina Skiff driven by Petty Officer 2nd Class Reed Ropher, ran over Hrynyshyn.

Kristen Livengood, a spokeswoman for Monroe County Fire Rescue, said the Carolina Skiff’s propeller cut Hrynyshyn’s head and leg.

He was taken to Kiki’s Sandbar and Grille on Little Torch Key and then transported by paramedics to Fishermen’s Community Hospital in the Middle Keys city of Marathon. The county’s Trauma Star helicopter ambulance then flew him to a hospital in Miami-Dade County, Livengood said.

Lt. Cmdr. John W. Beal, a public affairs officer for the Coast Guard’s Seventh District, which includes South Florida and the Keys, released a statement to the Miami Herald that confirmed off-duty Coast Guard personnel were involved in the boating incident but did not provide further details, saying the investigation is ongoing.

Ropher could not be reached for comment. Hrynyshyn, who did not respond to a message from the Herald, on Sunday posted a note on Facebook telling those who had contacted him with well wishes that he is home and recovering.

“Thank you to everyone who was there and reached out to me via text, phone call, or social media. I couldn’t have gotten through it without everyone coming together. I’m back at home now resting and recovering,” he wrote.

He also expressed gratitude to his colleagues and his girlfriend for saving him, as well as paramedics for treating him and getting him to the hospital.

“I really can’t thank everyone enough that I’m able to type this. I love each and everyone of you. God bless,” Hrynyshyn wrote.