The Coast Guard and a good Samaritan ship cooperated to rescue four men west of Guadeloupe in the Leeward Islands on Jan. 21 after the men had been lost at sea for six days.
“Luck on behalf of the survivors, along with vigilant watchstanding by the Coast Guard and our partner agencies assisting in the search, ultimately saved the lives of these four men,” Capt. Drew Pearson, commanding officer at Coast Guard Sector San Juan, Puerto Rico, said in a statement.
The men were in a simple fishing boat and had no emergency communication gear other than a cellphone, which one of them used to call a brother on shore to alert him that their boat was disabled. They had left St. Vincent Island on Jan. 12 bound for Antigua.
Click play to watch a slideshow of scenes from the rescue.
Coast Guard Sector San Juan received the report about the missing men, issued an urgent marine broadcast and requested support from Air Station Clearwater, Fla.
After hours of searching by U.S., French, Barbadian and Dutch aircraft, a Coast Guard C-130 out of Clearwater located the fishing boat, named Prosperity, and got the men a radio, an EPIRB, and food and water.
They established communication with the C-130, noting that one of the men had symptoms of severe dehydration.
“This case underscores the importance of having safety equipment, such as an emergency position indicating radio beacon, on board your vessel,” Pearson said.
The C-130 contacted Lamentin, a tanker that was nearby, to assist and remained at the scene until the tanker arrived and removed the four men from their boat.
The Lamentin continued to St. Croix, USVI, to transfer the survivors to paramedics.