U.K. Sailors Rescued from storm

BOSTON – A Coast Guard air crew rescued two people from their sail boat about 230 miles south of Nantucket, Mass. around 9 a.m. today.  Rescued were Honora Askew and Dennis Hopton, both 50 years old, from the United Kingdom, when their 33-foot sail boat encountered 15-foot seas and 45 mile-per-hour winds. No injuries were reported.

Coast Guard Command Center, Boston and United Kingdom Maritime Rescue Co-Ordination Centre Falmouth received an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) signal from sailing vessel Honora around 4:20 a.m. indicating they may be in distress. MRCC Falmouth indicated the vessel had departed a U.S. port around May 8, headed back to the United Kingdom.

Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast around 5 to alert other mariners in the area who could assist.

Air Station Cape Cod launched an HU-25 Falcon Jet around 5:45 a.m. and an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter around 7 a.m. Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C. launched a HC-130J Hercules long-range aircraft around 7 a.m. to provide additional air support.

The Falcon crew arrived on-scene around 6:30 a.m. and dropped survival gear and a life raft to the Honora. The boat’s crew was unable to retrieve the gear due to the difficult conditions.

The HU-25 Falcon Jet’s pilot, Lt. Cmdr. David Gudbrandsen described the wind and sea conditions as intense. “Without their sails up, it was really hard to see them. They would completely disappear into the trough of the waves. They were very happy to know they would be back at Cape Cod in a few hours,” said Gudbrandsen.

The HC-130J aircraft and the HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter air crew arrived on-scene around 9 a.m. The two seafarers were hoisted into the helicopter and transported to Nantucket airport due to low visibility. Once the fog lifted, the crew was able to return to Cape Cod.

“This was a challenging rescue because of the weather departing and recovering, the sea state on-scene and because we were at the very edge of the helicopter’s range,” explained Lt. Jg. Adam Young, helicopter pilot during rescue.

The Coast Guard has issued a Safety Marine Information Broadcast regarding the sailing vessel adrift.

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