Survival at Sea: 3 Rescued as Sail Boat Sinks off Hilo

February 9, 2012, 8:20 AM HST · Updated February 9, 8:23 AM
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Coast Guard Station Maui at Maalaea, file photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

Three people, including a 9 year-old boy, survived as a disabled sailboat sank 280 miles northeast of Hilo yesterday.

Those aboard the 38-foot Liahona vessel contacted the US Coast Guard on Tuesday at 5:26 p.m., as the boat lost its mast and its engine overheated.

The Coast Guard contacted the 800-foot container ship Horizon Reliance, which was about 150 miles northeast of the Liahona’s location, to request assistance under an Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue Program.

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The Horizon Reliance reached the disabled boat early Wednesday morning at 1:30 a.m. Upon arrival, a swell caused the sailboat to capsize and sink, throwing the three passengers into the sea.

All passengers aboard the sailboat were wearing lifejackets with strobe lights, which enabled rescuers to keep them in sight.  The first person, a 29-year-old man, was pulled to safety at 2:30 a.m., but the others, a 32-year-old man and 9-year-old boy, drifted away. Both were rescued at 3:20 a.m., according to the US Coast Guard.

All passengers aboard the sailboat were wearing lifejackets with strobe lights, which enabled rescuers to keep them in sight.

They are all reportedly in good condition and returned to Honolulu today aboard the Coast Guard’s Horizon Reliance.

The Liahona was traveling from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to Hilo when the accident occurred.

***Supporting information courtesy US Coast Guard.

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