Coast Guard coordinates rescue of 3 sailors 1,200 miles southeast of Cape Cod

1st Coast Guard District News
BOSTON — The Coast Guard coordinated a rescue of three sailors approximately 1,200 miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, at approximately 2 p.m., Thursday.

Watchstanders from the 1st Coast Guard District command center in Boston were notified at approximately 6 a.m., Thursday, of a 406MHz emergency position indicating radio beacon signal registered to the 42-foot French-flagged sailing vessel Tao with three men aboard.

A Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew currently deployed to St. John’s, Nova Scotia, immediately launched to locate the Tao.

Three Frenchmen were reported aboard, one age 72 and two age 79.

The district command center watchstanders also contacted available vessels in the area to assist. Crews from the 500-foot Maine Maritime Academy training ship State of Maine, the motor vessel Mol Maxim and the Spanish-flagged fishing vessel Robero diverted to assist.

The Hercules crew arrived on scene at approximately 11 a.m. and dropped marking flares, a life raft and radio to the Tao’s crew. The men abandoned the sailing vessel and entered the life raft. The Tao was taking on water and capsizing.

The Robero arrived on scene at approximately 2 p.m. and safely rescued the sailors from the life raft. They were reported to be wearing lifejackets.

“This rescue demonstrates the strong bond between mariners on the open ocean,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Joaquin Alayola, a search and rescue coordinator at the 1st Coast Guard District command center. “The Robero’s crew proved that mariners from any nation can unite to help save lives in a distress situation.”

The Robero will transport the sailors to the 300-foot Spanish-flagged hospital ship Esperanza for further evaluation and arrangements for travel.

Weather on scene was 10 to 12-foot seas with 33-knot winds.

The 1st Coast Guard District covers from New Jersey to Canada with search and rescue duties extending approximately 1,300 miles from shore. Units across the Northeast conduct more than 2,500 search and rescue cases in a year, and rescue more than 300 people.

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