Coast Guard combines efforts with international vessels to rescue Canadian man 400 miles offshore

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MIAMI β€” Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen safely hoisted a 61-year-old man suffering from severe dehydration 200 nautical miles north of San Juan, Puerto Rico Monday morning.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan, Puerto Rico, received the initial call from the sailing vessel Enzo, via satellite phone, at approximately 1 a.m. Sunday reporting that they received a VHF radio call from Michel Salan, a Canadian national aboard the sailing vessel Scat, who was suffering from severe dehydration and required urgent medical assistance early Sunday morning. Due to significant distance off-shore and lack of any nearby rescue assets, Coast Guard coordinators communicated with nearby Bahamian-flagged 518-foot motor vessel Chiquita Scandinavia through the Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System (AMVER) to provide assistance. Upon arriving on scene, the Chiquita Scandinavia reported rough and hazardous sea conditions and were unable to safely rescue Salan from the sailing vessel.

The Liberian-flagged 623-foot bulk carrier AS Vincenti, also responded to the scene and safely rescued Salan from the sailing vessel Scat 406 nautical miles northeast of Puerto Rico. The AS Vincentia then proceeded to a position 200 nautical miles from San Juan and awaited for Coast Guard rescue crews to arrive.

A rescue swimmer from Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen, Puerto Rico, is lowered aboard the bulk carrier AS Vincentia to provide medical attention to a man rescued more than 400 nautical miles northeast of Puerto Rico, Nov. 4, 2013. Michel Salan, a Canadian national, was rescued by the AS Vincentia, which is part of the automated mutual assistance vessel rescue system - a computer-based, voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to people in distress at sea. (Photo courtesy AS Vincentia)

A rescue swimmer from Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen, Puerto Rico, is lowered aboard the bulk carrier AS Vincentia to provide medical attention to a man rescued more than 400 nautical miles northeast of Puerto Rico, Nov. 4, 2013. (Photo/AS Vincentia)

Coast Guard search and rescue coordinators at Sector San Juan diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous with an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Borinquen onboard. The Cutter Vigorous rendezvoused with AS Vincentia 200 nautical miles north of Puerto Rico where the crew of the MH-65 helicopter safely hoisted Salan off the AS Vincentia to the cutter Vigorous to receive medical attention.

The Coast Guard helicopter will then medically evacuate Salan to EMS authorities in San Juan, Puerto Rico Monday afternoon, to receive further medical care at the Centro Medico Hospital.

β€œThe great coordination and swift response between our Coast Guard rescue crews and international mariners aboard the AS Vincentia, the Chiquita Scandinavia and the sailing yacht Enzo saved this sailor from the perils of the sea,” said Capt. Drew W. Pearson, Sector San Juan Commander. “The ability to maintain an open line of communication via satellite phone with the Enzo, allowed Coast Guard Watchstanders to complete proper coordination with responding Coast Guard crews and AMVER vessels, who selflessly diverted from their scheduled commitments to successfully complete this rescue 400 hundred miles from shore. All boaters should be well prepared with proper survival and distress signaling equipment even for short voyages, it could save their lives.”

The vessels Chiquita Scandinavia and AS Vincentia are a part of the Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System that is sponsored by the United States Coast Guard. AMVER is a computer-based voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to people in distress at sea.

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