Coast Guard assisting disabled sailing vessel 45 miles southeast of Oahu

HONOLULU — The U.S. Coast Guard is responding to a 53-foot sailing vessel in distress approximately 45 miles southeast of Oahu.

The owner of the sailing vessel Loon called the Coast Guard at 4:07 a.m. Monday, to report his vessel was taking on water while on a voyage from the Ala Wai small boat harbor on Oahu to Kaunakakai, Molokai.

The Loon’s owner is alone aboard the vessel and requested assistance through the Coast Guard’s 24-hour command center on Sand Island by calling on VHF marine band Channel 16. A crew aboard an HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter from Air Station Barbers Point was on scene just before sunrise.

“We found him right away just as the sun was coming up,” said Lt. Dave Maccaferri, an HH-65 pilot. “We got him on the radio and he felt he could keep things under control with a de-watering pump, so that’s what we did.”

A rescue swimmer was deployed from the HH-65 helicopter into the water approximately 30 yards from the sailboat. After swimming over to the sailboat, the rescue swimmer climbed aboard and then helped bring aboard a de-watering pump, which was lowered from the HH-65 helicopter.

“We helped him get the pump started and made sure it was working before we had to leave the scene because we were low on fuel,” said Maccaferri, who reported on scene weather conditions of six- to eight-foot seas and winds of 15-to-20 knots.

The Coast Guard also diverted the Munro, a 378-foot high endurance cutter, to the scene. Damage control experts from the Munro are aboard the Loon at this time attempting to plug and patch the leak.

The 110-foot patrol boat Galveston Island has also been diverted to tow the Loon in to port once the repairs have been made.

The Coast Guard reminds mariners to keep safety gear aboard a vessel and in operational condition and to take advantage of free vessel safety checks by the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

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