Wednesday, May 23, 2007

US Navy Rescues Stranded Sailors

The aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower and cruiser Anzio made new friends as they headed back home to Norfolk, plucking four men from one sinking sailboat and aiding two others who were short on fuel and food. Both warships are part of the carrier strike group returning this week from an extended eight-month deployment to the Middle East. On Saturday in the first rescue, about 500 miles west of the Azores, two New York men said they were low on fuel because they had to motor their vessel longer than planned to get through a storm. They left St. Martin on May 4 in their 46-foot sloop, bound for the Azores on their first Atlantic crossing, according to a Navy news release.
Sailors from the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower provide assistance to the New York-based sailing vessel Elena during a transatlantic voyage.
While the Anzio was first on the scene, the Ike relieved it and deployed an assistance team. Ike sailors gave the stranded boaters supplies, including diesel fuel. On Sunday, the Anzio responded to a distress call from Amerauto, a 34-foot sailboat that was slowly sinking with four Ukrainian crew members aboard. They had been under way for five days after leaving Bermuda on May 15 headed for the Azores. They were 425 miles from Bermuda when they put out their distress call and 1,700 miles from their next destination of the Azores, the Navy said in a release. Initially, radio communications were difficult because the Ukrainian crew spoke little English. Anzio has three people on board who are fluent in Russian and were able to communicate. The vessel was taking on water and had an inoperable bilge pump. One sailor was ill. There was only three days' worth of food on board and no propane for cooking. The Anzio crew took the four aboard to bring them back to Norfolk. The Anzio assisted a total of four vessels in distress on the high seas during its deployment, Capt. Perry Bingham, Anzio's commanding officer, said in a news release.

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