Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector North Carolina received a call from a man aboard the 40-foot sailboat Sassafras stating he’d lost his sea anchor and needed assistance at approximately 4:30 a.m.
The Coast Guard was able to hear the man over the radio, but the man was unable to hear the Coast Guard’s responses.
A C-130 Hercules aircraft crew launched from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, arrived on scene and attempted unsuccessfully to pass a radio to the man.
An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew launched from Elizabeth City, arrived on scene, and lowered a rescue swimmer to the water near the disabled sailboat. The swimmer climbed aboard the boat and learned the man, sailing alone, was also having trouble with the boat’s engines, among other technical problems.
The man made the decision to leave the boat. He and the rescue swimmer entered the water and were hoisted to the helicopter at approximately 11:30 a.m.
The man was transported to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, in good condition.
“While it is unfortunate the Coast Guard was not able to salvage the sailboat, we’re glad to have helped this man escape a dangerous situation today,” said Lt. Jon Lee, aircraft commander aboard the Jayhawk helicopter for the case. “Given his limited communications and other complications aboard the boat, he made a good choice to not stay out there alone.”