Couple Saves Drowning Victim at Maho Bay on Anniversary Visit

“He’s Not Breathing!”
“He’s Breathing!!”
“There’s Blood Coming Out of His Nose and Mouth!”


Jennifer and Scott Tame


CRUZ BAY – Most first-time visitors send selfies and texts to their friends about the beauty of Maho Bay in the Virgin Islands National Park.

Jennifer and Scott Tame of Portland, Maine, didn’t send photos to their island hosts Corey and Leah Dence from their morning snorkeling excursion to Maho on Tuesday, Sept. 22, but when their adventure took a different albeit dramatic tone their texts to the Dence’s spoke volumes.

10:55 a.m. – “Holy shit dude, Scott and I just pulled a drowning man out of the water,” Jennifer said in her text to Leah Dence from the scene.

“Oh my god is he ok?  You ok? He need help?” Leah responded by text. “Anxious to hear about it. Tell me if you guys need any assistance and we’ll get someone there.”

“Dude, I’m crying, ambulance on the way, he’s breathing terribly, blood coming out of his mouth and nose,” Jennifer texted back. “He wasn’t breathing at all when we pulled him out.”

“Ok. Deep breaths,” Leah texted therapeutically. “He’s going to be okay.  It’s going to be ok.”

“Yeah, just super overwhelming,” Jennifer acknowledged to end the text exchange.

Celebrating First Anniversary
“We were just out of the water from snorkeling at Maho Bay,” Jennifer later told St. John Tradewinds. The couple was on island visiting friends Corey and Leah to celebrate their first wedding anniversary.

Just coming out of snorkeling on the section of the narrow beach across North Shore Road from the expanding VINP gravel parking lot, the couple heard a woman calling for help and saw an older woman dragging the lifeless body of a large man through the shallow water towards the beach.

“We just started running,” Jennifer told St. John Tradewinds in an interview September 23.

“She was dragging a body face-down through the water,” said Scott, adding that the man was big. “We helped pull him in to shore; he was very blue.”

“I held his head out of the water,” Jennifer clarified.

“All of a sudden he just started puking,” Scott said.

“And blood was coming out of his nose and mouth,” Jennifer added.

“At that point another gentleman had come over from a bus tour,” Scott added. The unidentified man assisted the Tames and the man’s wife in tending to the victim until EMS personnel arrived at the beach pond the far end of the North Shore Road.

Cell Phone Emergency Call Works from Maho
The emergency button on their cellphone worked from Maho and the call got out to Emergency Medical Service (EMS) who responded along with a National Park Service law enforcement ranger.

“He started breathing normally and started talking towards the end,” said Jennifer, who said they wanted to find out how everything turned out.

The Tames were unable to ascertain the condition of the man they helped rescue before they were scheduled to leave St. John on Friday, Sept. 25.  There was no information available from officials at Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center in Estate Catherineberg on the condition of the victim of the near drowning or his treatment.

The couple will always have the vivid memories of helping to save a life while  celebrating their one-year wedding anniversary on St. John on September 20, 2015.

St. John Tradewinds wishes the couple many happy returns — to St. John.