When the crew of the 38-foot sailboat Cynthia Woods had only seconds to escape their sinking vessel last Saturday, one man put five other lives before his own, according to ABC News.
Safety officer Roger Stone was supervising four students with fellow safety officer Steve Conway during the offshore sail race “Regata de Amigos” in the Gulf of Mexico and drowned in his efforts to save the others. His body was pulled Sunday from the Gulf, according to the report.
“Roger was a friend, a great sailor, a good coach and a true hero,” Conway told NBC’s Today show. “Our hearts and prayers go out to his family in their time of loss.”
Last Friday, the crew of Cynthia Woods was caught in seas estimated at 4 to 6 feet during the regatta that runs a course from Galveston,Texas, to Veracruz,Mexico. The keel separated, possibly after striking a submerged object, according to the Coast Guard.
Stone organized the crew’s abandonment of the ship, including waking two students sleeping below deck and making them don life jackets before going above deck and into the water. Stone did not make it above deck before the boat went down.
In the water, the remaining crew used belts and rigging to hold themselves together. Conway told them stories to keep them encouraged, according to the report. The search for the crew began Saturday morning when the sailboat missed a radio check after losing communication at midnight Friday. Conway used a flashlight to signal the Coast Guard as they struggled to stay upright in 4- to 6-foot seas.
They were pulled from the water 23 miles south of Freeport,Texas, around 2 a.m. Sunday morning, about 26 hours after entering the water, according to the Coast Guard.
“It hurts not being able to save that one individual,” said Lt. Justo Rivera, the Coast Guard helicopter pilot, in the report.
— Elizabeth Ellis