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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  1. Joe Brake says:

    This is my dad and I thank you from all of my heart for taking the time and responding to the cruise ship report. I have a bunch of heroes to thank for saving my old man and the sea father. Joe Brake

    P.S. Roger Brake is his name. I would love to honor the heroes and my father on fathers day if possible. Just a thought. Joe

  2. Shawn & Bob Cherry says:

    You have no idea how grateful we, Roger Brake’s family, are that you do what you do! Roger is our dad and the family just doesn’t work with out him! Thank you! Thank you!

    We are also grateful for the crew of the cruise ship Grandeur… for without them, none of us would have know his sailboat sunk. Thank you!

    God Bless!
    Shawn & Bob Cherry

  3. Willard Jackson says:

    Bob and Shawn Cherry are close personal friends of mine and never knew that I was in the Coast Guard. When I spoke to them about the Coast Guard’s efforts to save her father, I have never been as proud as I am now to have been associated with this branch of the armed services. Sometimes I think people don’t realize the job they do and the risks that they take everyday to save lives.

    I and truely gratful that Shawn’s dad is with us today due to the fine MEN and WOMEN of this oraganization and their outstanding tradition. It was and honor and priviledge to serve on the CGC Diligence WMEC 616 and the memories and experiences that I carry will be cherished for a lifetime. GOOD JOB Coasties SEMPER PARATUS!!!!

    Willard Jackson