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Longboat Key Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009 5 years ago

Officers receive awards for life-saving work

by: Kurt Schultheis Managing Editor

The Longboat Key Police Department presented awards Monday, Nov. 30, to two police officers who saved a Bradenton woman’s life after she fell off a sailboat in Sarasota Bay during a stormy day this summer.

Marine Officer Dennis Silverio Jr. and Patrol Officer Charles Erickson responded to a call for help from a Sarasota police dispatch on the afternoon of June 7.

Kayla Roush, 23, was aboard a 27-foot sailboat with her family when a storm with high winds caused the woman to fall overboard.

The other five people aboard the sailboat attempted to get her out of the water, according to the police report. But because of slippery conditions and rough waves, Roush could not be saved, and the sailboat’s captain tossed Roush a life jacket before losing sight of her.

Silverio and Erickson responded to the call and spoke with the family three miles north of the Ringling Causeway Bridge before starting their search.

Silverio navigated the department’s new marine boat south of the sailboat during a second storm squall that made boat navigation and visibility on top of the water difficult, according to a police release.

Erickson spotted Roush treading water in Sarasota Bay at about 2:15 p.m.

Upon seeing the marine boat, Roush began to swim toward the boat and was brought aboard through a side dive door.

“Without the quick thinking and efforts of these two officers, it could have been a tragic day,” said Police Chief Al Hogle, who presented the officers their awards along with Deputy Police Chief Martin Sharkey.

Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].

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