As Tropical Storm Sally gained strength, a container ship and the U.S. Coast Guard saved six sailors in two daring sea rescues.
On Sunday, September 13, the container ship COSCO Malaysia was in the Gulf of Mexico when she received a distress call from a sailboat approximately 130 nautical miles west of Florida.
The container ship’s captain located the sailboat, Yes Dear, and maneuvered his 1,096-foot vessel into position so his crew could hoist the four sailors aboard. The COSCO Malaysia then reversed course to Tampa Bay, Florida, where she had started her journey, and disembarked the four sailors.
That same night, about 14 miles off Key West, Florida, the U.S. Coast Guard engaged in a dramatic overnight rescue as Sally gained strength.
The sailboat Preston Point reported being adrift with a disabled engine and in danger of capsizing. The Coast Guard dispatched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and the cutter Raymond Evans.
The helicopter crew located the sailboat and lowered a rescue swimmer into the 6- to 10-foot seas. But as winds gusted up to 35 mph, the rescue swimmer was unable to reach the drifting sailboat.
With the helicopter running low on fuel it was forced to depart the scene, leaving the rescue swimmer in the water. An HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew was launched to assist the rescue swimmer. Once on scene, the Raymond Evans launched a rescue boat to retrieve the rescue swimmer and then rescued the two people from the sailboat.