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Coast Guard rescues three people, a dog and a cat from sailboat near Cape Charles

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Posted at 7:16 AM, Oct 23, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-23 07:16:49-04

Portsmouth, Va. — The Coast Guard hoisted three people, a cat and a dog from a sailboat on the Chesapeake Bay near Cape Charles on Wednesday.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads in Portsmouth received a distress call at about 2 p.m from the owner and operator of the 30-foot sailboat Mary K. The call said all three people aboard were seasick and the sailboat was dragging anchor in four-foot seas and 25-knot winds approximately 15 miles north of Cape Charles and six miles west of Eastville.

A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Cape Charles and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City were launched to assist the boaters.

The helicopter crew arrived on scene and decided not to hoist directly to and from the sailboat.  Weather on scene was reported at 45-knot winds and nine-foot seas. The helicopter crew lowered a rescue swimmer into the water who swam to the sailboat and assisted each person into the water and to the rescue basket. All three people, a cat and a dog were also hoisted into the helicopter.

The crew flew the survivors to Air Station Elizabeth City in good condition.

Sector Hampton Roads issued a Safety Marine Information Broadcast to notify mariners of the abandoned sailboat until the owner makes arrangements for commercial assistance.