CLEVELAND — The U.S. Coast Guard, the Alpena Sheriff’s Department and several good Samaritans are assisting two men aboard a 42-foot sailboat that began taking on water early Wednesday morning 18 miles east of Alpena, Michigan in Lake Huron.
Shortly after 9 a.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, received a call from two men aboard a 42-foot sailboat stating their vessel was taking on water approximately 18 nautical miles east of Alpena in Lake Huron. The men stated they were currently using a hand pump to dewater the vessel.
Sector Sault dispatched a crew from Coast Guard Station Alpena aboard a 25-foot response boat, a crew from Coast Guard Station St. Ignace, Michigan, aboard a 45-foot response boat and a crew from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Michigan, aboard a Dolphin helicopter. They also issued an urgent marine information broadcast advising mariners in the area of the situation.
The motor vessel Michipicoten, a Canadian flagged 689-foot bulk carrier and a 45-foot pleasure craft responded to the broadcast along with the Alpena Sheriff’s Department.
The Michipicoten provided a lee for the sailboat due to the weather. The area is currently under a small-craft advisory with reported on-scene conditions of 20-25 knots and waves 6-7 feet.
Just after 11 a.m., the Traverse City aircrew arrived on scene and lowered a rescue swimmer and a dewatering pump to the vessel. After arriving aboard, the swimmer was made aware that one of the men had a history of heart problems and was beginning to experience chest pains. Not long after, the man started to lose consciousness.
The crew medically evacuated the man to Alpena Regional Medical Center. His condition is currently unknown.
The crew aboard the 25-foot response boat arrived just before 11:30 a.m, and began to assist with the dewatering process.
Just after noon, the crew aboard the 45-foot response boat arrived on scene, placed the sailboat in tow and are currently en route to Thunder Bay Harbor in Alpena.