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VIDEO: Climb of their lives

A 16-foot jonboat is no place to be with a gale warning in effect, but that’s where two teenage boys in North Carolina found themselves on Sunday.

When their boat became disabled on Currituck Sound and started taking on water, survival mode apparently kicked in: The boys climbed the steel tower of a nearby navigation marker.

Winds were blowing 25 to 30 knots, with gusts of about 40 knots, and seas were 5 to 6 feet, according to the National Weather Service. The air temperature was in the 40-degree range.

Click play for video of the rescue.

Boat crews from the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission and Currituck County were unable to approach the teens safely, so a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Elizabeth City was dispatched. A rescue swimmer hoisted each of the boys to safety.

“I’m getting the survivor out of the basket now,” a Coast Guard crewmember says as the first boy is pulled aboard the helicopter. “He is very cold.”

— Rich Armstrong