Video: Coast Guard helicopter rescue near Cape Fear, North Carolina

Video released by the United States Coast Guard on Friday evening shows two men rescued by high winds in 12-foot cold seas southeast of Cape Fear earlier in the day.

The men sent out a distress signal after the mast of their 34ft Spin Drift sailboat was damaged and the boat became adrift in high waves and 21mph winds, according to a press release from the Coast Guard.

The video shows the damaged ship from the air, then films a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk crew hoisting sailors from their ship to the helicopter.

The rescue took place 86 miles southeast of Cape Fear, according to the Coast Guard.

A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircraft arrived moments before the Jayhawk and confirmed the boaters were in distress, Coast Guard officials said.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon, a fast-response cutter based in Puerto Rico, was 50 miles away and was diverted to help at the scene.

The Jayhawk pilot flew the rescued sailors to Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City. The boaters were not injured, according to the Coast Guard.

Keep a “sharp perspective”

Their boat, however, remained “a possible danger to navigation”, according to the coast guard statement.

“An Emergency Broadcast Notice to Mariners has been issued, alerting mariners in the area to remain alert to avoid a collision,” Coast Guard officials said in the statement. “The owners of the ship will coordinate the rescue.”

When cold waters kill

The waters there reached 63.9 degrees on Friday, according to

Swimmers are advised to treat any water temperature below 70 degrees “with caution,” according to

Water between 50 and 60 degrees “can kill you in less than a minute,” according to the site. “It’s actually so dangerous that it kills a lot of people in seconds. Not from hypothermia or incapacitation, but rather from cold shock and swimming failure.

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Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989, covering locals, towns and major news events in the area, and served as editor of the newspaper’s press office. He is currently reporting on the latest news.

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