Californian Max Young was on the last leg of an extended bluewater voyage when it all came to an abrupt, harrowing end.
"He saw some whales … and then one breached the surface right at the stern of his boat, and he lost his rudder and his propeller, and he was taking on water," Coast Guard Lt. Amy Kefarl told KXTV News.
The accident happened late in the evening June 12 approximately 40 miles off La Playa, Mexico. Young, 67, tried using a mattress to stop the water coming into the 50-foot sailboat and ran all four of his bilge pumps. However, it quickly proved a losing battle.
Click play for a report on the ordeal and footage of the rescue. Mobile users can also click here.
Young activated an ACR GlobalFix EPIRB and AquaLink PLB. Three hours later, the crew of a Coast Guard LRS C130 had flown nearly 200 miles and made radio contact with Young, assuring him that a container ship was steaming toward his rescue.
“He said, ‘Thank you Coast Guard, I thought this was it,’ ” says Kefarl.
The ship, participating in the AMVER maritime aid system, took him aboard, leaving his boat to sink.
“I'm sad the boat is gone,” Young’s wife, Debra, told News 10. “But I'm ecstatic he's O.K.”