The U.S Coast Guard rescued four Canadians after their catamaran capsized about 140 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, officials said.
At 12:18 p.m. on Saturday, the Coast Guard 5th District Command Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, received an emergency signal from the Moon Dragon, a 60-foot catamaran that charters between the Mid-Atlantic and the Virgin Islands, the USCG said in a news release.
An airplane crew flew to the scene and spotted the overturned catamaran and a covered life raft with four people inside, according to the Coast Guard.
Footage of the rescue shows a Coast Guard crew hoisting a person from the rough waters onto their helicopter.
All four people aboard the catamaran were airlifted and then taken to Air Station Elizabeth City before they were transferred to a local hospital, the Coast Guard said. None of the passengers were injured, according to the Coast Guard.
The catamaran crew said that, while at sea, both their port and starboard side hatches broke, leading to flooding that forced them to abandon ship, the Coast Guard said.
“The survivors in the raft used a radio to contact the overhead HC-130 crew and request assistance,” the Coast Guard said.
Operations unit controller Petty Officer First Class Austin Lang said the rescue mission was a success because the catamaran crew was prepared with an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, a proper radio, and a functional life raft.
“The ocean is unpredictable and unforgiving, and this case represents perfectly the value of being prepared at sea,” Lang said in a statement.
“These sailors had the right gear on board, it worked, they knew how to use it, and it’s because of that we were able to find them and bring them home safely,” he added.
The catamaran was left partially submerged in the strong winds and high waves. The Coast Guard said they issued a navigation hazard to mariners in the area.