ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. -- The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed the rescue of four mariners off the coast of North Carolina near Wilmington on Saturday.
According to a news release from the agency, a crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City successfully rescued the four Canadian sailors after receiving a signal from an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) around 12:18 p.m. The alert was from the Moon Dragon, a luxury sailing yacht that charters between the Mid-Atlantic and the Virgin Islands.
The Coast Guard then launched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City and directed them to the area. The dispatched crew spotted the overturned vessel and a covered life raft. The survivors in the raft used a radio to contact the overhead HC-130 crew and request assistance.
The Jayhawk crew safely hoisted all four off the raft and airlifted them to Air Station Elizabeth City. They were treated by Pasquotank-Camden EMS. No injuries were reported. The catamaran crew told the Coast Guard that both their port and starboard side hatches broke on the 60-foot catamaran leading to catastrophic flooding which forced them to abandon ship around noon.
"The ocean is unpredictable and unforgiving, and this case represents perfectly the value of being prepared at sea," said Petty Officer First Class Austin Lang, operations unit controller.
The Moon Dragon remains partially submerged and the Coast Guard is issuing a hazard-to-navigation safety broadcast to notify mariners transiting in the area.
"These sailors had the right gear on board, it worked, they knew how to use it, and it's because of that we were able to find them and bring them home safely," Lang said.