Three boaters were rescued by the crew of a Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter after their 41 foot sailboat began to take on water 19 miles off Hatteras just after midnight on May 17. The Coast Guard launched the helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City and dispatched a 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew from Station Hatteras Inlet.
The three people aboard were wearing life jackets and preparing to abandon ship. Watchstanders advised the mariners to grab the Emergency Position Indicator Radio Beacon from the vessel and to only enter the water as a last resort. Once on scene, the Jayhawk crew discovered that water in the sailboat was knee-deep. They hoisted the three mariners from the sinking vessel and transported them back to the air station as the sailboat sank. ‘When an emergency arises underway, it's vital to have a life jacket on,’ said Lt. Amanda Faulkner, command duty officer at the 5th District command center. ‘These mariners were minutes away from entering the water in the middle of the night. Not having a life jacket might have cost them their lives.’