PORTSMOUTH-At first, three people on a disabled sailboat said they were doing okay. That was Friday. By Sunday, they needed to be rescued.
The 38-foot sailboat Wings was about 200 miles off North Carolina when the boaters radioed for help. The crew reported they were not in distress and had plenty of provisions aboard but had lost their rudder, the Coast Guard said.
About 8:00 a.m. Sunday, the crew contacted the Coast Guard about their situation and, with weather getting worse, a rescue mission began.
An HC-130 Hercules airplane and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter launched from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C. Officials also contacted the Navy, which diverted Norfolk-based USS Cole toward the area.
Two hours later, the Jayhawk crew had hoisted the three people from the Wings and dropped them off on the Cole because they received another distress call. When that call was cleared, the Jayhawk went back to USS Cole, got the three boaters and took them to Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C.