ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — A man and a woman who spent three hours clinging to their capsized sailboat about 65 miles off Atlantic City are safe.
The Coast Guard received a satellite distress signal from the 55-foot vessel Bertie on Wednesday evening.
Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Andy Kendrick says the sailboat was headed to New York from the Bahamas when it encountered stormy conditions.
The Coast Guard launched a helicopter from Atlantic City and a plane from North Carolina. A Coast Guard cutter also was dispatched.
Kendrick says a rescue swimmer found the two hanging onto the capsized boat. They were hoisted aboard the helicopter.
The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Valiant has returned to its home port at Naval Station Mayport after a nine-week counter-drug patrol in the eastern Pacific.
The pair, who Kendrick says have been sailing around the world for the last two years, was transported to a hospital.
There’s no word on their condition.
Navy Times editor’s note: This rescue operation began with an Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon alert to the Coast Guard’s 5th District Command Center in Portsmouth, Virginia. Because the Bertie was outside range for VHF and cell telephone reception, watchstanders scrambled an Air Station Atlantic City MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew, an HC-130 Hercules search and rescue plane out of Air Station Elizabeth City in North Carolina and the cutter Lawrence Lawson (which is homeported in Cape May, New Jersey), according to a 5th District email sent to Navy Times. The cutter remained on the scene to recover the EPIRB, one of the best ways to save your life if you’re ever involved in a maritime mishap.