Shipwreck survivor meets with Coast Guard rescuers in Portsmouth, VA

From left to right: Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class John Fuller, Petty Officer 2nd Class Brittany Wygand, Petty Officer 1st Class Andrea Cobb, shipwreck survivor Jacob Van Ommen, Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Luker, Lt. j.g. Bradley Milliken and Capt. Kevin Carroll pose for a group photo during an event on Coast Guard Base Portsmouth, Virginia, Aug. 16, 2017. Van Ommen met with the Coast Guard personnel who helped rescue him when his sailboat ran aground and sank near Myrtle Island, Virginia, June 23, 2017. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Auxiliarist Trey Clifton/Released)

From left to right: Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class John Fuller, Petty Officer 2nd Class Brittany Wygand, Petty Officer 1st Class Andrea Cobb, shipwreck survivor Jacob Van Ommen, Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Luker, Lt. j.g. Bradley Milliken and Capt. Kevin Carroll pose for a group photo during an event on Coast Guard Base Portsmouth, Virginia, Aug. 16, 2017.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Auxiliarist Trey Clifton)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — A shipwreck survivor met with his Coast Guard rescuers during an event on Coast Guard Base Portsmouth Wednesday.

Jacob Van Ommen met with the Coast Guard rescue swimmer and watchstanders who helped rescue him from his sinking sailboat and shared his story with media members.

Van Ommen’s 30-foot sailboat Fleetwood ran aground and began taking on water at around 4 a.m. near Myrtle Island in the Chesapeake Bay, June 23, 2017. The 80-year-old issued a mayday call on VHF-FM channel 16, triggered an SOS alert via personal GPS device and launched a life raft from his sinking vessel.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, responded and deployed a rescue swimmer to hoist Van Ommen from the life raft as the sailboat sank.

“I am very grateful for the excellent and professional response of the U.S. Coast Guard,” Van Ommen said.

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