A new video released by the US Coast Guard shows the harrowing rescue of two Canadians in American waters just south of Vancouver Island.
The two Canadians were adrift and stranded with their damaged sailboat 130 kilometres off Neah Bay, Washington, south of Port Renfrew. According to the US Coast Guard Pacific Northwest district, their generator had failed, the sails were torn, and their propeller was broken.
In the video taken October 10th, we see the helicopter approach the boat in a violently choppy storm. “It ended up being about 15 foot (4.5 metres) seas and 30-knot winds, and the sailboat was pitching and rolling pretty violently down there,” said Chris McDonald, US Coast Guard aviation maintenance safety technician 2nd class, who was part of the rescue team.
“I’ve been doing this for almost 11 years, this job – and this was my most dynamic and challenging case that I’ve had.”Brian Notheis, Aviation survival technician 2nd class
Because the boat was in such bad shape at this point, the rescue team had to send down a rescue swimmer to assist in the recovery of the two men. Brian Notheis, Aviation survival technician 2nd class, was lowered down in the storm with a rescue basket to bring the sailors to the helicopter. The shaky video shows the men jumping off the boat into the ocean towards Notheis, who loads them up one-by-one to be lifted into the helicopter.
“We want everybody who’s wanting to come into US waters and sail a boat or whatever to know that we’re coming out regardless of who it is.”Brian Notheis, Aviation survival technician 2nd class
“I’ve been doing this for almost 11 years, this job – and this was my most dynamic and challenging case that I’ve had,” Notheis said to CHEK News.
Both men are reportedly in stable condition following their air-lift to Port Angeles, Washington.
“We want everybody who’s wanting to come into US waters and sail a boat or whatever to know that we’re coming out regardless of who it is,” said Notheis. “We love our neighbours to the north, and we’re ready to respond and help out anytime.”
The Canadian and US Coast Guards recommend all mariners have adequate safety gear, including lifejackets, flares, flashlights and GPS, and always check weather conditions before setting out on the water.
People were quick to chime in on the US Coast Guard’s social media in response to the dramatic video. “What you all do is amazing and so courageous. I just shiver watching the rescue. Great job!” said user @DeAnnasboys.
“Honestly, I don’t feel like the Coast Guard gets enough credit for their harrowing rescues.
So grateful for people with this sort of courage and skill set!!” @loneXmastree replied.