Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Key West received a digital selective calling report from the vessel Ondego 30 nautical miles northwest of Marquesas Key, Florida. Watchstanders quickly made callouts and issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast.
Upon establishing communication with the sailing vessel Ondego’s crew, it was determined the vessel’s sails had torn, and the hull had cracked and was taking on water and drifting with two men aboard.
Coast Guard Air Station Miami launched a Dolphin helicopter crew that arrived on scene, safely hoisted both men and transferred them to Key West International Airport where Emergency Medical Services were waiting.
“These were the worst conditions my crew and I have ever experienced in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Lt. Matthew Swanner, aircraft commander. “I am proud of my crew who executed this rescue flawlessly despite the adverse weather conditions.”
Weather at the time of the rescue was 40-knot winds and 20-foot seas.