North Carolina man safe this evening after drifting two days in a life raft

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – Robert Brakes, a 60-year-old Morehead City, N.C., resident, is safe today after being rescued from a life raft off the North Carolina coast by the Coast Guard today.

Brakes reported that his ordeal began after his sailboat began taking on water and capsized Wednesday evening.

“He reported that he attempted to contact help with his vessel’s radio but was unsuccessful,” said Lt.j.g. Scott McGrew of Coast Guard Sector North Carolina.

“He said his vessel sank so quickly he was unable to gather food, water or his ship’s Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB),” said McGrew.

“Brakes said that he felt he would not be able to survive another day without food and water but knew he was going home after he saw the Coast Guard C-130 flying over his raft,” said McGrew.

Watch standers at Coast Guard Sector North Carolina were notified by a cruise ship and contacted the personnel at the Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) Portsmouth who launched a Coast Guard C-130J aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., to investigate.

Upon arriving the aircrew spotted a debris field and a covered life raft, after several low flybys of the raft the aircrew reported seeing a person onboard and notified the watch standers at RCC Portsmouth.

Brakes was hoisted from the raft a short time later by a MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew from Elizabeth City and flown to Carteret County Hospital for treatment.

Upon arriving at the hospital Brakes was treated for mild hypothermia and dehydration.


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