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Flares help in nighttime rescue of three in disabled boat

San Fran rescue

A US Coastguard helicopter crew battled poor weather and darkness to save three people in a disabled boat with the help of flares.

The Dolphin helicopter rescue of the three aboard the 30-foot sailboat Freedom, took place in Pillar Point Harbor, off the Northern California coast, one night in May. The rescuers faced 20 miles-an-hour winds and 15-foot seas. A video was taken of the rescue.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Steve King, the rescue swimmer aboard the Dolphin helicopter, says, “It was so dark out that I couldn’t see the boat, even while wearing night vision goggles until we were right on top of it. It was really great that they had flares.”

Lt. Katherine Voth, the aircraft commander aboard the Dolphin helicopter, says, “My team did a great job working through these challenging conditions to result in three lives saved. This positive outcome was a direct result of the sailors having life jackets, flare guns and cell phones.”

Initially, the boat owner called the Coast Guard command center in San Francisco to say his passengers were feeling unsafe in harsh seas.

The Pillar Point Harbor Patrol was tasked to help, but its crew was forced back in heavy seas.

Meanwhile, the Freedom lost steering and its engines and the helicopter crew was dispatched.

Sector San Francisco then launched a Coast Guard Station Golden Gate 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew and a Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew to assist.

Upon arrival, the Dolphin crew lowered the rescue swimmer who hoisted all three passengers and took them to Air Station San Francisco with no reported injuries.

The Coast Guard has issued a safety marine-information broadcast for the adrift boat.

The main video and image is courtesy of the US Coast Guard.

Jun 03, 2020