PORTSMOUTH, Va. -- The Coast Guard rescued three boaters who became stranded hundreds of miles off the Eastern Seaboard while sailing in the middle of Tropical Storm Alex.
Coast Guard officials received an emergency alert from the sailboat Faule Haut Monday night that indicated the boat was in trouble 395 miles southeast of Virginia Beach, Virginia -- which placed it square in the middle of the tropical storm. Seas were 10-12 feet there amid 40 mph winds, according to the Coast Guard.
Rescue crews attempted to reach the crew via cell phone, with no response.
A rescue plane and chopper were sent from Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The plane was the first to spot the disabled sailboat, noting its mast had been broken and crew members were signaling with flashlights.
The plane dropped a radio to establish communications then returned to base to refuel. Another boat in the area made it to the scene to provide additional help.
Meanwhile, the rescue chopper refueled on a Navy ship in the Atlantic about halfway along the 460 mile journey, then reached the Faule Haut. Crews successfully hoisted all three crewmembers and brought them back to shore.
No one was hurt.
"The Coast Guard was able to quickly locate these stranded mariners because they activated the on board EPIRB to signal that they were in distress," Lt. Andrew Grady, Fifth District Command Center Command Duty Officer, said in a news release. "As we enter the busy boating season, the Coast Guard would like to remind the boating public on the importance of having safety gear and emergency signaling devices on board in case of distress."