Titanic flight diverted to aid sinking vessel

1st Coast Guard District NewsBOSTON — A U.S. Coast Guard HC-130J rescue plane is being diverted from their Titanic commemoration flight to aid a sinking French vessel approximately 1,300 miles east of Boston, Saturday.

The rescue plane crew, from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., was in St. Johns, Newfoundland, in preparations for a ceremony to drop five wreaths over the Titanic resting site.

First Coast Guard District Command Center watchstanders, based out of Boston, were notified at 7:30 a.m. by Rescue Coordination Center Gris Nez, in Normandy, France, that the 40-foot sailing vessel UBU 7’s rudder was leaking, but the boat was still buoyant. There are three persons aboard.

The rescue plane crew is preparing to air-drop supplies including a pump and hand-held radio to maintain communications. Their estimated arrival time is approximately 1 p.m.

The Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System vessel Moscow Sea, a 547-foot oil tanker, is diverting to the sailing vessel and their estimated arrival time is approximately 5 p.m. AMVER vessels are volunteers in a worldwide reporting system, operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, which tracks and communicates with vessels willing to support in search and rescue operations.

“There are a lot of moving parts here,” said Lt. Joe Klinker, 1st Coast Guard District Public Affairs Officer. “Our crews are coordinating with their counterparts in France, with oil tankers out at sea, and with flight teams in Canada to help these folks get home safe.”

The sailing vessel is reported to have a personal locating beacon, life jackets, flares and a life raft aboard.

Weather on scene was reported to have 40-knot winds and 12-foot seas.

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