Coast Guard performs dramatic rescue after rogue wave destroys sailboat


A crew of four sailors injured and suffering near hypothermia in the Atlantic Ocean had to be rescued by the US Coast Guard after a ‘rogue wave’ swept through and rocked their 39ft sailboat off the east coast from Long Island.

Dramatic video shows a Coast Guard rescue team hoisting stranded boaters into a helicopter above choppy waters about 100 miles south of Montauk, Long Island on Sunday, May 8.

The huge rogue wave knocked the ship’s mast down, injuring crew members, Cape Cod Coast Guard Air Station officials told AccuWeather.

The men were sailing from the US Virgin Islands bound for Connecticut when they encountered “rough sea conditions”, the Coast Guard said.

Their sailboat, named Calypso, was left in tatters by the strong rogue wave. Such “rogue waves” occur when a wave is proportionally larger than those surrounding it in a given area of ​​the ocean. They occur in open water and push more than twice the height of nearby waves.

The damaged sailboat Calypso is left stranded in the Atlantic Ocean after a rogue wave on Sunday, May 8, 2022, about 100 miles south of Long Island Sound. The US Coast Guard rescued the four crew members, who were injured. (US Coast Guard)

The crew members were also close to “showing symptoms of hypothermia,” said Petty Officer Emma Fliszar, of the Boston-based Coast Guard First District.

She described sea conditions at the time as treacherous with waves of 16 to 17 feet and winds of nearly 40 mph. The air and water temperature was 47 degrees Fahrenheit.


The harsh conditions were caused by a large weather system that had been stuck off the Atlantic coast since the start of the weekend, according to AccuWeather meteorologists. The storm brought high winds and choppy waves before moving south later in the week.

The Calypso and her crew found themselves adrift in the vast ocean, with little means of communication. They were only able to send calls for help via text and an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon).

It apparently worked and the Coast Guard was dispatched around 4 p.m. Sunday after receiving an emergency call for a sailboat in distress, Officer Fliszar said.

As with many Coast Guard missions, this rescue effort proved difficult as the team battled rough seas and high winds while trying to airlift sailors from their boat, even as the darkness was falling. Such “severe weather” conditions, she noted, are enough for the Coast Guard to take additional precautionary measures.

In all, the rescue team and crew endured a grueling five hours to get off the boat safely and back to shore.

After the evacuation is complete, one of the rescue swimmers can be seen at the end of the video waving and smiling as he climbs back into the helicopter.

The men were then airlifted to Gabreski, New York, on Long Island, where they were transported to an area hospital with a “higher level of care” for further evaluation, the Coast Guard said. All four were fine.

EDITORS’ NOTE: The Coast Guard reported the boat was sailing from Bermuda, but a source told AccuWeather the voyage began in the US Virgin Islands.

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