VIDEO: Coast Guard rescues French sailor off New Jersey

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A French sailor who was trying to sail solo from New York to the United Kingdom had a close call with disaster but survived because he was prepared for the worst.

Olivier Jehl's 21-foot sailboat Solidaires hit something in the water and started sinking early Monday about 90 miles off Atlantic City, New Jersey, authorities said. He inflated an emergency raft and activated a radio beacon to let the Coast Guard know where he was.

The Coast Guard sent aircraft from Cape Cod and Atlantic City to find Jehl, who fired emergency flares to guide searchers to him.

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City found Jehl at about 4:40 a.m., hoisted him on board, and brought him back to land. The Coast Guard said he was not hurt.

"This case was a perfect example of how to be prepared for the worst case scenario," Capt. Peter Mingo said in a news release. "Personal beacons, life rafts, exposure suits and flares were the key to Mr. Jehl being able to effect his own rescue via the U.S. Coast Guard."