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Mishaps & Rescues – Florida & the South

Recent responses from Florida and the South

Tanker Rescue — Two Italian yachtsmen were recently rescued in the Southern Ocean by the German-operated tanker Hellespont Trooper. The pair’s 34-foot yacht, Onitron, was dismasted April 8 about 3,500 miles west of the Southern tip of South America.

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Despite strong winds and a heavy swell, the vessel’s crew used a life raft to transfer the two men from the yacht to the tanker. The Hellespont Trooper was en route from New Zealand to Rivadavia, Argentina, but planned to divert to a Chilean port to drop off the pair.

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Missing boater

Aviation Training Center, Mobile, Ala.

Coast Guard aircrews conducted a massive search from Miami to Slidell, La., for a 69-year-old man aboard a 45-foot sailboat who had not checked in with family members during his voyage. A family member informed the Coast Guard 7th District Command Center in Miami that the man had not been heard from since March 1, when he was off the coast of Fort Pierce, Fla.

The experienced sailor departed Feb. 25 from St. Augustine, Fla., and was en route to his new home in Slidell. He was last seen March 3 near the Cape Florida Light off Miami, when he received assistance from TowBoatUS after running aground. A Coast Guard HU-25 Falcon jet crew from Aviation Training Center in Mobile, Ala., eventually located the missing sailor nine miles south of Mobile. Crewmembers of Coast Guard cutter Cobia conducted a post search-and-rescue boarding with the man and discovered he had lost his cell phone overboard in Key West, Fla., and was unable to contact his family to let them know he was safe. Additionally, he lost generator power and use of his VHF marine radio during the journey, making him unaware of the Urgent Marine Information Broadcast being sent to help locate him. (March 15)

Rogue wave disables catamaran

Station Oregon Inlet, N.C.

A rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Oregon Inlet towed a disabled catamaran to safety after it was hit by a rogue wave near Oregon Inlet, N.C. Dare County 911 contacted Coast Guard Sector North Carolina, stating it received a call from the owner of a disabled 55-foot catamaran requesting assistance. The owner called the Coast Guard soon after, stating he had been hit by a rogue wave that disabled his boat. Station Oregon Inlet launched a 47-foot rescue boat to assist. The crew of the rescue boat arrived, towed the boat to safe water where it could anchor, and transported the owner to the station. The catamaran was anchored for the night and the owner was expected to return with commercial salvage to recover the boat. (March 18)

This article originally appeared in the Florida and the South Home Waters Section of the June 2009 issue.