Coast Guard and local mariners rescue sailor in distress 450 miles southeast of Cape Cod

1st Coast Guard District News
BOSTON — Coast Guard crews coordinated with commercial vessels to rescue a man approximately 450 miles southeast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Monday.

Watchstanders at the 1st Coast Guard District Command Center in Boston, Massachusetts, received notification at 9:30 pm Sunday. from Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Halifax, Nova Scotia, that the Belgium-flagged 42-foot sailing vessel Vagrant, with one person on board, was taking on water at a rate of one gallon-per-hour and was experiencing heavy winds and seas.

When the vessel missed scheduled satellite phone calls Monday morning, the Coast Guard immediately launched an HC-144 Ocean Sentry from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod and a C-130 Hercules aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C. to try to locate the vessel. The USS New York and multiple commercial vessels also responded to assist.

Overcoming limited information on the vessel’s location and planned course, the C-130 crew spotted the sailing vessel adrift with tattered sails. Unable to raise the vessel on the radio, the C-130 dropped a communications package, but 40-knot winds and 16-foot seas prevented the sole crewmember from the Vagrant from recovering it. The motor vessel Kuala Lumpur Express was the first commercial vessel on scene and made a close quarters pass to formulate a rescue plan. The motor vessel Hoegh Maputo arrived for secondary support.

The crew of the Kuala Lumpur Express made a second pass and lowered a small boat to extract the man from the vessel. The crew reported that the man was in good health and uninjured.

“The successful rescue of the sole crewmember of the S/V Vagrant under such challenging conditions is a testament to the tenacity, teamwork and professionalism of First District Command Center Operations Unit Watchstanders, the crews of the responding Coast Guard aircraft, and the masterful seamanship of the master and crew of the Kuala Lumpur Express” said Lt. Bryce Van Cleef, the command duty officer at the 1st Coast Guard District Command Center.

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.

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