Coast Guard rescues three from sinking sailboat off Cape Hatteras
The crew of a Coast Guard helicopter rescued three boaters off Cape Hatteras early Friday.
The Coast Guard received a distress signal at about midnight from someone aboard a 41-foot sailboat that was taking on water 19 miles southeast of Hatteras Inlet, authorities said.
The three people aboard were wearing life jackets and preparing to abandon ship. The Coast Guard advised them to grab the emergency radio beacon from the vessel and to enter the water only as a last resort.
The Coast Guard launched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City, and dispatched a 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew from Station Hatteras Inlet.
Once on the scene, the helicopter crew discovered that the water on the boat was knee-deep, so they hoisted the three people off the sinking ship and carried them back to Elizabeth City.
“When an emergency arises underway, it’s vital to have a life jacket on,” Lt. Amanda Faulkner, command duty officer at the Coast Guard’s 5th District command center, said in a statement. “These mariners were minutes away from entering the water in the middle of the night. Not having a life jacket might have cost them their lives.”