Coast Guard rescues 2 off Chincoteague, VA

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Shearwater assist a man in a raft 90-miles east of Chincoteague, Va., March 31, 2015.  The Shearwater's crew responded to the two sailors in distress after they lost their mast during harsh ocean conditions. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by crew of the Cutter Shearwater)

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Shearwater assist a man in a raft 90-miles east of Chincoteague, Va., March 31, 2015.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard rescued two men Tuesday from the distressed sailboat Irene, approximately 90 miles east of Chincoteague.

Rescued were Joerg Fleimming, 51 and Stefan Heising, 56, both German nationals.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard 5th District Command Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, received an alert at approximately 4 p.m. Monday via fax from Maritime Rescue Cordination Center Bremen, Germany stating that the Irene was in need of assistance.

Command center personnel made contact with Fleimming, the boat’s owner, via an iridium phone and learned that the Irene had lost its mast and was low on fuel.

Watchstanders diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Shearwater to the Irene’s location.

The Shearwater arrived on scene at approximately 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, but were unable to pass a towline due to the sailing vessel’s condition and environmental factors.

At sunrise, Fleimming and Heising boarded a life raft and were recovered by Shearwater’s crew at approximately 7:30 a.m.

The Shearwater took the two men to Coast Guard Station Little Creek, where they were met by Customs and Border Patorl agents who assisted the two men in obtaining a flight back to Germany at Norfolk International Airport.

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