Men swim for hours to safety after jet skis break down in Suffolk

SUFFOLK, Va. - Two missing jet skiers were found safely after they failed to return home from a ride after several hours.

After the jet skis broke down, the men swam from the channel for hours.

Suffolk Fire & Rescue crews responded just after midnight Monday to assist in the search for the jet skiers.

Dispatch received the call from family members at 11:19 p.m. Sunday evening when the two men hadn't returned from their planned trip to the Monitor Merrimack Bridge Tunnel.

The two men, ages 35 and 50, had left from a location in the 2800 block of North Share Drive around 6:30 p.m. Sunday.  The United States Coast Guard launched a helicopter and boat to search for the missing men.

Two jet skis were located tied up to the site of the former Bennett's Creek Restaurant in the 3300 block of Ferry Road.

The two missing men called their family members to tell them that they were safe at approximately 2:30 a.m. They said the jet skis broke down and they had to swim from the channel for hours, pulling their disabled jet skis to that location.

One of the jet skiers, Brian Sawyer, says he and his friend are experienced, so they didn't panic. "I knew it was in God's hands and I knew we were in good shape," he said. "It could've been a lot worse."

Both men were wearing life jackets. They walked from the location to the Farm Fresh on Bridge Road, where they asked a citizen to use their cell phone to contact their family.

The crew from Boat 5 towed the disabled jet skis from the location at the former Bennett’s Creek Restaurant to the boat ramp at Bennett’s Creek Park for the men.

They both received emergency medical assessment, but did not require medical transport.