PORT CANAVERAL — The West Virginia spring breakers who were nearly struck by cruise ship over the weekend won't face any charges.
Brevard County Sheriff Office personnel, including 32-year-old Brevard County Sheriff's Deputy Taner Primmer, who pulled the young women out of the water with just a few seconds to spare Saturday afternoon, talked about the rescue during a news conference Monday at Port Canaveral.
Port Canaveral Harbor Pilot Capt. Doug Brown, who was navigating the 130,000-ton Carnival Cruise Line's Magic out of the port, was credited with maneuvering the ship just enough to buy Primmer the precious seconds he needed to pull the two women onto his patrol boat and get out of the way.
The near collision was captured on video and has made heroes out of Brown and Primmer.
"It was a close call," said Primmer, an eight-year veteran of the sheriff's department. "It all happened so fast. I was trying to get them out of the water as quickly as I could. That was my main concern."
Primmer didn't realize how close a call it was until he saw the video. His wife and family also watched the video and were taken aback by the rescue.
"My wife was a little upset," said Primmer. "But she's doing good."
The two women were identified as 19-year-old Skylar Penpasuglia and 20-year-old Allison Garrett, both of Princeton, W. Va. Primmer said he watched the two women launch the tandem jet ski from the public boat ramp next to Jetty Park on the port's channel on Saturday and said they weren't doing anything improper. They also wore proper safety gear.
"They were right on the edge of the channel," Primmer said. "It's a place where they are entirely allowed to be in any given circumstance. Had they kept moving out of the channel and not falling off the ski then they would have been out of the way for the most part. Once they fell off the jet ski and were basically just adrift, the wind and the current is what made it an unsafe situation."
If saving two women wasn't heady enough, Primmer has become something of a celebrity with interviews planned with CNN, Inside Edition and Good Morning America to name a few.