Coast Guard, with the assistance of the Navy, saved four lives and
responded to a total of five sailboats in distress off the Atlantic
Coast Thursday and Friday.
of the five boats were participating in the Salty Dawg Rally, a
sailboat rally from Hampton, Va., to the British Virgin Islands, the
Bahamas, and other locations.
Guard assets and personnel involved in Thursday and
Friday's search, rescue, and vessel assists were crews
aboard two HC-130 Hercules airplanes and an MH-60 Jayhawk
helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., the crew
of the Coast Guard Cutter Block Island, a 110-foot patrol boat
homeported in Atlantic Beach, N.C., a 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew from
Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet, N.C., and the command center
personnel of the 5th Coast Guard District and Sector North
the first case, crewmembers aboard the 41-foot sailboat, Ahimsa,
participating in the Salty Dawg Rally, sent out a distress
signal via a satellite tracking device, stating that they were taking
on water approximately 230 miles east of Virginia
Beach and were in need of assistance.
District watchstanders launched crews aboard a Hercules airplane to
search and a Jayhawk helicopter to perform the rescue. Watchstanders
also contacted the Navy, which diverted the USS Vella Gulf to assist.
approximately 11 p.m., the Jayhawk crew arrived at the Vella Gulf's
location and refueled aboard the ship. Proceeding from the Vella
Gulf, the Jayhawk hoisted four people from the Ahimsa at approximately
1:30 a.m., and took the boaters back to Air Station Elizabeth City,
where they declined medical treatment.
a second case, crewmembers aboard the 38-foot sailboat Nyapa,
participating in the Salty Dawg Rally, sent out a distress signal
via a satellite tracking device stating that they had lost their mast
and were taking on water approximately 275 miles east of Virginia Beach
and were in need of assistance.
District watchstanders diverted the first Hercules crew from the
Ahimsa case to search for the Nyapa, but they were unable to locate the
boat. A HC-130 crew from the air station launched at
approximately 10 p.m., and utilizing new information recieved from
the coordinator of the Salty Dawg Rally, located the Nyapa and
crewmember aboard the Nyapa stated they had four people aboard
and confirmed they lost their mast, but no one was injured and
they were continuing south via motors and no longer needed assistance.
a third case, Fifth District watchstanders received an alert from an
emergency position indicating radio beacon registered to the sailboat
Aurora. The alert positioned the Aurora 230 miles east of
Elizabeth City, N.C.
Hercules crews searched the area but were unable to locate the
boat. The crew of a nearby sailboat, the Dreamreach, responded to
the Coast Guard's radio broadcasts inquiring the after Aurora, stating
that they had been in contact with the vessel and that the Aurora was
not in distress and were heading to Bermuda.
a fourth case, crewmembers aboard the sailboat Brave Heart, also
participating in the Salty Dawg Rally, located approximately 50 miles
southeast of Ocracoke Inlet, contacted Sector North Carolina
watchstanders, reporting a 67-year-old man aboard had a arm injury.
launched a Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet crew aboard a 47-foot
Motor Life Boat to attempt a medevac. Once on scene, the MLB was
unable to conduct the medevac due to adverse weather conditions.
Coast Guard Cutter Block Island was dispatched to escort the Brave
Heart into Beaufort, N.C., but was diverted to assist with another case
with a disabled sailboat. Watchstanders established a
communication schedule with the Brave Heart and planned to send a crew
from Coast Guard Station Fort Macon to escort the Brave Heart in, but
crewmembers aboard the Brave Heart stated they no longer needed Coast
a fifth case, crewmembers aboard the 54-foot sailboat, Zulu, another
boat participating in the rally, located approximately 100 miles east
of Oregon Inlet, contacted Sector North Carolina watchstanders via
satellite phone, reporting that they were disabled and adrift.
The Cutter Block Island crew arrived on scene and Friday morning was preparing to set up a tow to bring the Zulu back to shore.
Click here to see the video from the U.S. Coast Guard.