Deckhand Assists in Rescue in St. Barths

22 January 2020

While in St. Barths, Deckhand Ryan Rivenburgh of M/Y Rebel witnessed a vessel colliding with a man on a Jet Ski on December 30, 2019, and he jumped into action.

“I looked up right at it and watched it happen,” Rivenburgh told local ABC affiliate WPB-F. “I took my phone out, threw the hat off, and dove down in the water.”

He got onto a Jet Ski and sped over to help Mike Higbee, who was bleeding from a large gash on his forehead, unconscious but alive.

Higbee was vacationing with his family in St. Barths, ABC News reports. The collision left him face down in the water, and his brother, who was nearby at the time of the incident, was unable to flip him over on his own.

Rivenburgh, along with the men in the boat involved in the incident, helped pull Higbee from the water and rushed him to shore. His injuries included six fractured vertebrae, mostly in the neck region, and a 10-centimeter gash on his forehead, Higbee told WPB-F. Fortunately, a plastic surgeon who was also on vacation in St. Barths stitched up the gash.

On January 17, WPB-F connected Rivenburgh and Higbee. “It’s not every day you can say thank you to people who literally saved your life,” Higbee says. He’s expected to make a full recovery.

“Don’t ever shy away from someone who needs help, and don’t hesitate to ask for someone to come help,” Rivenburgh says.