Sometimes, a successful search and rescue case is about being in the right place at the right time. This was the case Saturday morning when Coast Guard Cutter Diligence rescued six people about 170 miles east of Nicaragua.
While on routine patrol in the Caribbean, Diligence was notified that the crew of the 40-foot Japanese sailing vessel Pulchras III was in need of assistance. The crew was transiting towards Colon, Panama, when a navigational error caused them to run aground and breach the hull in the vicinity of the Serrana Bank. As the closest rescue resource, the Diligence coordinated with the Colombian Coast Guard to perform the rescue.
Thanks to the preparedness of the Pulchras III crew, the vessel was properly equipped with an Electronic Position-Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), which alerted the Coast Guard the vessel needed assistance. The crew also used a satellite phone to call the Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) in Tokyo. The vessel’s communications equipment as well as two life rafts and a dingy contributed to the successful rescue.
“We want to thank all of you for your hard work in saving us,” said the PULCHRAS III’s first mate. “We were all very frightened and unsure of our fate, but when we saw your vessel with the words ‘U.S. Coast Guard’ on its bow we were overjoyed and knew that we would be alright.”
“To bring the people on board and see how grateful they were to be rescued reminded me of why I joined the Coast Guard,” said Seaman William Cantrell. “When they said thank you as they were leaving I knew that all of our hard work and training had paid off and that we had just saved six lives.”