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Coast Guard's Latest Rescue: 3 People, 2 Dogs, Flamingo Floaty

Hollie Spence won't soon forget her 30th birthday
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2021 7:37 AM CDT

(Newser) – Alaska's Kodiak Island may be best known for bears, but it was a huge inflatable pink flamingo that drew eyes Saturday. Hollie Spence was celebrating her 30th birthday with Nation Sega, 29, his sister Lepa Sega, 23, and Lepa's chihuahua and pug at Monashka Bay near Kodiak when the group hopped into their 10-foot-long inflatable pink flamingo floaty. They planned to enjoy the shallow water just off the beach, but strong winds and currents soon whisked them across the bay, which opens onto the Gulf of Alaska. "We were outside on our porch, and I saw this giant pink flamingo floating across the bay," resident Katie Gray tells the Alaska Landmine. "The first thing I said was 'Oh, another invasive species.'" The humor would've been lost on Spence, who tells the Post she's "terrified of the ocean," while her friends can't swim.

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"We were in the middle of nowhere" without "paddles or lifejackets," Nation Sega tells KMXT. Then the flamingo started deflating. Luckily the group had a phone and could call 911. But the floaty ran aground on offshore rocks covered with sharp barnacles before rescuers arrived about an hour later, per the Post. The group, unharmed, was then hoisted one-by-one into a helicopter, as the Coast Guard determined a water rescue was too risky. "This situation had the potential to become much worse, in a hurry," Public Affairs Specialist 1st Class Nate Littlejohn of the 17th Coast Guard District tells Newsweek. "Luckily the raft drifted to a location the helicopter crew could hoist from." Spence later thanked her rescuers and "every Kodiak resident that cared, reported & made sure we were ok!" The condition of the flamingo, also rescued, isn't clear. (This apparently happens quite a lot.)

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