Australia-Bound Duo Rescued from Disabled Sailboat During New England Blizzard

Mike Schuler
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February 16, 2015

U.S. Coast Guard image

An Australia-bound father and son duo had to be rescued from their disabled 43-foot sailboat off the coast of Nantucket on Sunday amid the brutal winter storm that slammed New England Saturday night into Sunday.

The U.S. Coast Guard said it received a distress signal at about 4:50 a.m. Sunday from the sailing vessel “Sedona” located approximately 150 miles south of Nantucket. After reaching the two men via satellite phone, the Coast Guard learned that vessel was without power and its sails had torn in the storm.

A Jayhawk helicopter from Cape Cod was launched to rescue the men, while the crew of the 600-foot MV Maersk Katalin, about 40 miles away at the time, set a course toward the scene and agreed to provide communications support.

The aircrew arrived on-scene at 8:48 a.m. and hoisted the men to safety while battling low visibility and near hurricane force winds.

Initial on-scene weather conditions were nine-foot seas and building, with 40-mph winds, the Coast Guard reported. By the time the crew was recovered, conditions had deteriorated to 25-foot seas and winds of nearly 60 mph.

Following the rescue, a spokesman for the Coast Guard confirmed to the media that the father and son had purchased the “Sedona” on eBay and they had left for Australia from Rhode Island on Friday.

“Given the severity of this storm, this rescue was a major effort and we are all relieved it ended as it did,” said Lt. j.g. Tyler Dewechter, MH-60 pilot and public affairs officer at Air Station Cape Cod. “We are glad we were prepared for this storm and could render aid — and also continue to urge mariners to stay safe and heed the cautions and advisories of winter storm warnings.”

No one was injured in rescue, but the two men were transferred to local EMS to be evaluated for hypothermia.

On Saturday, the U.S. Coast Guard was urging mariners and the coastal public to prepare for the winter storm, which was forecasted to bring severe blizzard conditions, with heavy snow and winds gusting to 60 knots, beginning Saturday evening and lasting into Sunday morning. The Coast Guard added that it had been flying storm tracks since Friday to warn mariners of the impeding winter storm.

Video of the rescue can be found below:

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