The Coast Guard saved three people from a distressed sailing vessel in 8- to12-foot seas 160 nautical miles east of Cape Henry early this morning.
A Coast Guard C-130 aircraft and an HH-60 helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City combined rescue efforts with a 670-foot container vessel, the Horizon Hawaii, to bring three people to safe ground.
The Coast Guard received a call at 9:53 p.m. Saturday that the deck of the 44-foot sailing vessel Gina, homeported in Miami, was awash. The boat had lost its sails and steering, and its fuel system had been contaminated.
The Horizon Hawaii was on the scene, but couldn’t bring the sailors safely aboard the container ship. The ship immediately called the Coast Guard for assistance.
By 9:57 p.m., Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City was preparing to launch the C-130 and HH-60. Around midnight, a rescue swimmer from
the HH-60 was assisting the three sailors, one by one, into a rescue basket that was hoisted into the hovering helicopter. The survivors were then flown to the Coast Guard air station and released.