MAN AND WOMAN CLING FOR THREE HOURS TO THEIR CAPSIZED BOAT
A man and a woman spent three hours clinging to their capsized boat in the Atlantic ocean after setting sail for New York City from the Bahamas.
The U.S. Coast Guard received a satellite distress signal from the 55-foot vessel named Bertie on Wednesday night when it was about 65 miles off the coast of Atlantic City in New Jersey.
Peter Bailey and Heidi Snyder had been sailing from New York from the Bahamas when they encountered stormy conditions.
They had been sailing around the world for the last two years.
Bailey and Snyder said they were hit suddenly by a ‘white squall’, which is a violent windstorm at sea.
‘We were literally swamped and swallowed under within 60 seconds; water rushed in and we were catapulted off the boat and into the ocean,’ they wrote on a Gofundme page.
‘We were able to climb up on to the bottom of the boat and see if we could dive for the emergency epirb device. No luck, it just was not within reach for the breath we had.
‘About 30 minutes later, the boat started to roll back up, leaving the port side with access, and miraculously with the epirb in view, we grabbed and activated it.’
The couple said that was the last offering that the boat gave them.
‘Peter built Bertie with his own hands and poured years of blood, sweat and tears into her being,’ they said.
‘Everything we owned was lost to the sea... our tools of the trade, phones, computers, passports, important documents, artwork, photography equipment, photos, travel mementos, home stuff... everything. ‘We had literally one minute from the time the squall hit until we were thrown off the boat.’ After receiving the distress signal, the Coast Guard launched a helicopter from Atlantic City and a plane from North Caroline. They also launched a Coast Guard vessel to help in the rescue.
A rescue swimmer followed a blinking strobe light and found Bailey and Snyder clinging to the hull of their capsized boat.
The couple were hoisted aboard the helicopter before being taken to nearby hospital.
They said they arrived at the hospital with ‘nothing but our lives and just the clothes on our backs’.
‘We are so very grateful that we are alive, sustained no injuries and have family who we love and love us and that is the most important part of this whole story,’ they said.
One of the helicopter pilots, Lt. Anthony Monteforte, said the rescue was challenging because of the weather conditions.
‘This was an extremely challenging hoist due to on-scene conditions, but the entire crew came together to work as a team to get the job done,’ he said.
‘I am extremely proud of my crew and all of the other assets that aided in this rescue and thankful that the survivors onboard used a currently registered EPIRB (Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon) so that we could quickly locate them.
The U.S. Coast Guard received a satellite distress signal from the 55-foot vessel named Bertie on Wednesday night when it was about 65 miles off the coast of Atlantic City in New Jersey
Peter Bailey and Heidi Snyder had been sailing from New York from the Bahamas