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U.S. Coast Guard rescues four Americans from sinking yacht near Puerto Rico

PortandTerminal.com, December 16, 2019

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter rescued four men from a life raft on Sunday morning after they were forced to abandon a sinking yacht off Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. 

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO – Four men from Florida and Massachusetts were rescued Sunday off the coast of Puerto Rico when an 80-foot yacht called Clam Chowder started taking on water.

The men in their 20s and 30s were spotted in a lifeboat after they abandoned the yacht some 29 miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, according to the Coast Guard.

A large 80 foot yacht cruising in the sea with an American flag flying off of its bow
The Clam Chowder is now toast

“At 5:22 a.m. Sunday, watchstanders at Sector San Juan received a VHF radio Channel 16 distress call from the Clam Chowder, reporting the vessel’s stern was mostly underwater,” the Coast Guard reported. “Despite having multiple pumps energized, the crew could not keep up with the flooding.”

The Clam Chowder also reported losing power and listing to starboard before the captain gave the order to abandon the yacht.

READ: Two yachts destroyed in a fire were worth over $20 million

The men were rescued by the crew of a Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopter.

“This rescue highlights the importance of having proper survival gear and the thorough preparation by the crew of the Clam Chowder,” Lt. Carlos Gonzalez, co-pilot of the MH-65 Dolphin helicopter said following Sunday’s rescue. “Having lifejackets, VHF radios and a raft helped save four lives today.”

A white, empty lifeboat with a power motor on the back sitting still in the water
4 men from Florida and Massachusetts were rescued from this lifeboat. One man severed his finger in the process of releasing the boat. Via U.S. Coast Guard

The Coast Guard helicopter crew hoisted the men into the aircraft using a rescue basket.

The men were taken to Air Station Borinquen where they were transferred to Customs and Border Protection and Emergency Medical Service personnel.

The U.S. Coast Guard said one of the men severed his finger while releasing the lifeboat from the yacht.

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