An overdue sailor from New Jersey was found alive aboard a tattered vessel adrift nearly 300 miles off the coast of North Carolina on Wednesday.
The sailor had departed from Jersey City, New Jersey, en route to Bermuda but on Nov. 6 lost communication with family members, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) said in a news release on Thursday. The family told officials that he was considered overdue as of Tuesday.
The Coast Guard Atlantic Area command center issued an urgent marine message broadcasting a description of the man’s boat to other sailors. Cmdr. Wes Geyer, search and rescue mission coordinator, described the search area as “nearly twice the size of Texas” and the seas as “very unforgiving.”
A good Samaritan aboard the sailing vessel Time Bandit heard the message and encountered another vessel adrift with tattered sails and a missing boom 270 miles off Hatteras, North Carolina. The vessel matched the description of the overdue mariner’s boat, officials said.
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The good Samaritan was able to communicate with the overdue mariner, though the Coast Guard advised against an at-sea transfer due to sea conditions at the time.
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Lawrence Lawson based in Cape May, New Jersey, arrived on scene Wednesday and safely transferred the overdue sailor aboard the vessel in stable condition. The crew reunited the mariner with family Thursday at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May.
“We are pleased that this case resulted in a family reunion,” Geyer said.
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Officials did not immediately release the identity of the sailor.
USCG officials urged all mariners to carry a properly registered Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, a device that Geyer said can help pinpoint your exact location should the “unthinkable ever happen.”
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Other Coast Guard assets involved in the search and rescue operation included an HC-130 Hercules crew and an MH-60 helicopter crew both from Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and an HC-144 crew from Air Station Cape Cod, Massachusetts.