Things got scary for two sailors when their 52-foot boat lost power more than 170 miles offshore. But the story has a happy ending thanks to the U.S. Coast Guard and the emergency beacon the boaters invested in.
The Coast Guard says an alert came in from an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) Monday afternoon from the sailing vessel Bali Hai, which was about 172 miles east of Cape Hatteras.
The sailboat had left Norfolk on Sunday, and had previously cruised in the Chesapeake over the summer, with a stop in Annapolis in July, according to vessel-tracking websites.
On Monday Bali Hai‘s captain told the International Emergency Response Coordination Center that the boat’s engines had lost power and he was concerned about staying aboard in rough weather and high seas.
Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City launched a Hercules aircraft and a Jayhawk helicopter to help the stranded sailors. Once on the scene, the helicopter aircrew successful hoisted both boaters from Bali Hai. U.S. Coast Guard video from the air captured the rescue. Watch below:
The Jayhawk brought the sailors safely back to shore and no injuries were reported. USCG says the EPIRB they had on board may have saved their lives.
“We cannot stress enough how critical it is to have a properly registered EPIRB,” said Chief Petty Officer Charles Reaves, a watchstander at the Coast Guard 5th District Command Center. “While having an EPIRB aboard your vessel is important, having it accurately registered allows rescuers be able to determine your location and information in an emergency situation more quickly. The fact these boaters had this equipment, were trained on it and used it properly directly led to an accurate and timely response.”