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VIDEO: Rescue in a blizzard

Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection suggests that certain variants give some people extra survival probability.

A father and son who were rescued 150 miles off Nantucket, Mass., in blizzard conditions last weekend can thank the Coast Guard for allowing their gene pool to evolve another day.

Watchstanders at the First Coast Guard District command center in Boston received an emergency beacon signal at about 4:50 a.m. Sunday from the 43-foot sailboat Sedona and contacted the father and son on satellite phone. The son reported the boat was without power and that its sails had been torn in the storm. He requested that he and his father be removed from the boat. They had departed from Rhode Island and were ultimately headed to Australia.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod launched, but due to the conditions, an HC-144 Ocean Sentry support plane was unable to accompany it.

Meanwhile, the command center issued an emergency broadcast to ships in the area. The crew of the 600-foot Maersk Katalin, about 40 miles away, changed course toward the sailboat and agreed to provide communications support.

Initial on-scene conditions were 9-foot seas and building, with 40-mph winds. The air crew arrived at 8:48 a.m., and hoisted the men to safety. By the time the sailors were recovered, seas had built to 25 feet and winds were nearly 60 mph. They landed at Air Station Cape Cod at 10:50 a.m. Seas were forecasted to build to 34 feet.

“Given the severity of this storm, this rescue was a major effort, and we are all relieved it ended as it did,” said Lt. j.g. Tyler Dewechter, MH-60 pilot and public affairs officer at Air Station Cape Cod. “We are glad we were prepared for this storm and could render aid — and also continue to urge mariners to stay safe and heed the cautions and advisories of winter storm warnings.”