While sailing to Malibu recently, Marina del Rey resident Koz Khosravani and three friends saved the life of a young woman who had been lost in the ocean for 12 hours. PHOTO COURTESY of Koz Khosravani

Marina del Rey resident saves woman lost at sea

By Haley Beyer

It wasn’t long after Marina del Rey resident Koz Khosravani had purchased a sailboat, taken American Sailing Association courses, and earned his California boater’s license that he ended up saving the life of a young woman who was alone in the middle of the ocean.

On September 26 around 11:30 a.m., Khosravani had sailed outside of the Marina del Rey harbor for the first time. He had brought along a friend and two neighbors to act as his crew, and spent roughly an hour training them on safety procedures before setting sail.

Khosravani had also purchased safety gear on Amazon to prepare for his first trip out of the harbor and the night before he made sure the boat’s VHF radio was fully charged and that he knew how to use it.
“I am not religious nor that spiritual, but one must wonder about this universe,” Khosravani said.

When Khosravani and his crew headed to Paradise Cove in Malibu that morning, a pod of dolphins crossed in front of the boat and swam in a way that almost suggested they should follow them. It wasn’t long after that Khosravani spotted a young woman in the water waving her hand to them. He couldn’t believe someone was out in the open water more than two miles from the shore. The woman was exhausted and nude, wasn’t wearing a lifejacket and didn’t have anything to keep her afloat. When Khosravani got the boat up close, he knew they needed to act immediately.

One of the guests threw a lifesaver to the woman while Khosravani got the boat in the right position so that she wouldn’t get run over. Another guest threw a 70-foot orange rope so the woman could grab it while they slowly pulled her toward the boat. When she was close enough, the ladder was released in the back of the boat and the engine was turned off.

Khosravani and the other male on board used all their strength to pull the woman on board, as she had no muscle capability left. The two women on board ran downstairs to get dry towels, water and a thick blanket.

Khosravani also looked out in the surrounding waters to make sure there weren’t others in need of rescuing.

“I was grateful to have women on board to help the survivor,” Khosravani said. “I would have obviously still helped the woman regardless of her lack of clothes, but I think it made everyone, especially the survivor, more comfortable to have the women on there to help her,”

Once the woman was safe and dry, Khosravani issued a “Mayday” transmission to the U.S. Coast Guard on the VHF radio and it took less than 10 minutes for the LA County Rescue Boat Captain Matt Rhodes and his partner to show up. The woman was taken back to shore and immediately transported to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. The rescue boat then radioed Khosravani and asked him to meet at the Marina for a small investigation, where they asked him a few questions about the rescue.

Khosravani was relieved and grateful that the safety courses he had taken paid off on his first trip out of the harbor, and the safety equipment he had purchased on Amazon helped him save a woman’s life.

“In my training by the former Navy Seals at SEALfit of Encinitas and the Wakeup Warriors of Laguna Beach, I learned the most important qualities to have are mental toughness, clarity and focus,” Khosravani said. “I think my crew and I, and the survivor, all expressed exactly those in this situation. I am so grateful I didn’t freeze under the pressure of a stressful situation and god bless the guests I had with me for keeping calm and following my instructions to get the woman out of the water the safe way.”

After further investigation, it appeared the woman had been treading water for 12 hours in the dark after going skinny dipping alone around midnight. Luckily for her, late September reportedly has the highest water temperature for the entire year, and she survived.

Khosravani and his guests are still processing the traumatic event.

“It is incredible that I saved someone’s life, I still can’t believe it,” Khosravani said. “There are sailors with decades or over half a century of sailing experience who have never been in this situation, but I have lost some sleep from having some nightmares about the woman. They are all of me worrying about what she must be going through trying to recover and what she went through before we came.”

Khosravani hopes that sharing his personal experience will make people more aware of what can happen and he reminds people to always be responsible and prepared.

“There is a reason safety courses and equipment exist,” Khosravani said. “These things were one of my best investments. Please take advantage of that and take safety seriously. I want people to understand the power of the ocean. They underestimate its strength. It needs to be appreciated and though this wasn’t a problem in this situation, this is why I always say it’s best not to drink a lot, if at all on any boat, especially as the person in charge. Anything can happen at any time and you always want to be ready.”