Five People Rescued From Sinking Sailboat South Of Cape Lookout

Coast Guard crews rescued five people Saturday night from their sinking 47-foot sailboat about 32 miles south of Cape Lookout off Eastern Carolina.

The sailboat crew reported their boat was taking on water at 7:35 p.m.

The Coast Guard launched an MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City and a 47-foot rescue boat crew from Station Fort Macon in Atlantic Beach.

Coast Guard officials say "by the time the helicopter arrived on scene, the sailboat was mostly full of water and only a foot or two remained above water."

One person was hoisted off the sailboat just before 9:00 p.m., but the
others onboard requested not to be lifted. The other four were directed to launch their life raft and wait for the rescue boat crew. The rescue boat crew arrived on scene at 10:23 p.m. and took the others to safety.


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  • by Anonymous on Nov 22, 2009 at 04:46 PM
    Search and Rescue case's are not all "black and white", they continue to be "fluid" and everchanging as they occur. The Coast Guard does have a policy where the crew can be forcibly eveacuated from a vessel, but only after all personnel in the Chain of Command are briefed, and this decision to forcibly evacuate is made at the highest level. Remember, the vessel may contain all the worldly possessions of the captain/crew, it would be very hard for a person to abandon all your worldly possesions, and know that you may never get them back. The Coast Guard continues to monitor these situation's as they occur, continually using risk assesment, and tries to make the "right" decisions to all those that might be affected. The Coast Guard tries to have the final outcome be the best for all involved, without putting the Coast Guard crew's or the victims in undue danger.
  • by Curious on Nov 22, 2009 at 01:49 PM
    I'm curious if anyone knows the answer as to why the people on the sinking boat can say, gee I don't want to be lifted, I want to ride in a boat. If all had been lifted by the helicopter, the boat sent from Fort Macon could have returned home. Why do they have a choice? Didn't this happen recently to another boat? One or two were lifted and the others wanted the free tow in by the Coast Guard boat that had to come.
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