Response Coordination Center (RCC) Bermuda called off the search for two boaters reported missing Wednesday night after a Coast Guard C-130 aircraft and the USNS Comfort rescued
one survivor who had been floating without a lifejacket for about 18 hours.
Around 2:45 a.m. Wednesday, a C-130 aircraft from Elizabeth City, N.C., launched to search for a distress signal off Bermuda with a second aircraft replacing them later that morning. The C-130 located a person in the water waving at them at approximately noon and dropped them a life raft with survival gear.
USNS Comfort , recently deployed in support of the war on terrorism, diverted to assist in the rescue at the request of Response Coordination Center Bermuda. The reported sea conditions were 12- to 15-foot seas with a water temperature of 66 degrees.
Comfort arrived onscene at approximately 3:30 p.m. and recovered the person from the water.
After being picked up by the Comfort, the survivor described what happened. His account describes a wave hitting the boat and rolling it over around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. He had been at the helm and climbed free, but he never saw the two other gentlemen on the boat. The boat never re-righted and sank about 20 minutes later. The survivor floated with no life jacket or any other type of survival equipment for about 18 hours until the Coast Guard C-130 dropped the life raft to him.
The USNS Comfort is currently enroute to their original destination and the survivor will remain onboard until the Comfort's next port-of-call.