Dramatic rescue footage showed four injured sailors stranded after their boat was badly damaged in rough seas 80 miles south of Long Island, and the daring rescue to try to save them.
“They were in bad shape and needed to be rescued from their ship,” LTC Dan Reilly said.
Crew members from U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod raced into the waters south of Montauk to rescue the men. The sailboat – named Calypso, based in Long Island – was facing deteriorating conditions: its mast had been knocked over by what investigators called a “rogue wave” on Mother’s Day, leaving the men on board desperate need immediate help.
“Once I got down in the boat and assessed the survivors on the boat, I found the best person, and then I kind of walked the line in terms of injuries. We had a guy with a concussion, a possible skull fracture and a bad head laceration, who was the worst off,” said AST1 Edmund Bizorik. “And then there was a guy with broken ribs and everyone was moderately hypothermic at the time.”
A lifeguard jumped into the water, battling 16-17ft waves with diminishing daylight and howling winds.
“It was one of my most extremely difficult cases I have had so far as a rescue swimmer, but with the crew everything went fantastically, as it made a lot easier to do it with the crew we had,” Bizorik said.
One by one, the injured sailors were hoisted up — and all four survived.
“Trying to manage the basket, keep them from falling off the ships since you have all this white water crashing and crashing on the bow of the ship,” Reilly said. “I mean, he had a hell of a night and it’s pretty amazing what he did there.”
After the harrowing rescue, the injured sailors were taken to local hospitals. On Friday, the group that rescued them was praised for their bravery.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been on a team with such flawless teamwork where we were all on the same page,” Lt. Nick Zablotny said. “I think it’s just a testament to the people at the Coast Guard and the professionalism and amount of training we put in to get the job done every time.”