Coast Guard saves sailor from sinking boat

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U.S. Coast Guard image

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued a man from a sinking sailboat off the coast of Long Island on Thursday. Radio watchstanders got word at about 7:30 a.m. that a 40-foot sailing vessel called Pocho was taking on water about 12 miles south of Shinnecock Inlet, officials said.

The Coast Guard dispatched a Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod to respond to the sinking boat, arriving just before 9 a.m. The crew fought 9-foor sea swells and 24-mph winds during the rescue. [SEE PHOTOS OF RESCUE]

Video from the Jayhawk shows a Coast Guard crew member guiding a line attached to a rescue swimmer. The swimmer then grabs the sailor, who had abandoned the sinking sailboat and swam toward the crew. The video shows that after a few tense minutes, the rescuer and sailor are hoisted to the relative safety of the helicopter.

The crew brought the man back to Cape Coad, where medics tended to him.

"This is an example of doing everything right,” said Mark Averill, a duty officer at Sector Long Island Sound. He said that the sailor quickly called for help before things got worse and had his safety gear ready to go. Averill said the rescue team knew where he was before communications cut out.

"In this situation the subject was rescued without further incident, which may not have been the case had he waited," Averill said.