rescue

An Air Station Houston MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew prepares to conduct a hoist of two mariners approximately 288 miles east southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, Jan. 2, 2020. The two sailors were aboard the 37-foot sailing vessel Rhapsody when it became disabled due to an engine room fire and activated their emergency position indicating radio beacon for rescuers to locate them. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Aviation Training Center Mobile)

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Coast Guard rescued two mariners from their disabled sailing vessel, Rhapsody, approximately 288 miles east southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, Thursday afternoon.

Watchstanders at the Eighth Coast Guard District command center received an emergency position indicating radio beacon alert at 2:13 a.m. Watchstanders directed the launch of a Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew and diverted the LPG tanker Sahara Gas to investigate the location.

Once on scene, the LPG tanker Sahara Gas reported two people aboard a 37-foot sailing vessel disabled after an engine room fire. The tanker was unable to lower a life boat to render assistance due to 10-foot seas.

The air crew of the HC-144 Ocean Sentry arrived on scene and established a communications schedule with the two mariners aboard the Rhapsody.

With weather deteriorating, an Air Station Houston MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew was launched to conduct a hoist, as well as an Aviation Training Center Mobile HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew to provide communications support.

At 12:42 p.m., the MH-65 helicopter crew hoisted the two mariners and transferred them to Air Station Houston.

"The success of this rescue was heavily reliant on our strong partnerships," said Petty Officer 1st Class Ra Wilkinson, an operations specialist at the Eighth Coast Guard District command center. "From the good Samaritan LPG tanker Sahara Gas who remained on scene with the vessel, to the offshore platforms that supported the refueling of our MH-65 throughout the journey, to the multiple Coast Guard units involved, we were stronger together and two mariners are out of danger because of it."

Weather on scene was reported as 17-23 mph winds and 10-foot seas.

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