By Ashley Knight (WKRG)-A dozen crew members are alive thanks to a daring rescue from an Alabama Coast Guard crew.
Around 2:30 Friday morning, 150 miles southeast off the coast of Mobile, a 170 foot long research vessel, the Seaprobe, was taking on water in its engine room.
Those on board put in a distress call and soon the US Coast Guard's aviation training center in mobile went into action.
"Both our H-60 and air station Clearwater H-60 and our 144 all converged on scene at around, between 5:30 and 6:00 and began to provide assistance because the crew at that time had already abandoned ship."
The crew, clinging to two life rafts in 65 degree water with winds making it feel like sub-freezing temperatures. It's estimated they were in the water for an hour and a half.
"The vessel that took on water ended up sinking and the people ended up in a life raft and that helicopter had put their swimmer in the water. He went over and he was taking the survivors one by one out of the life raft into the water and hoisting them up into the helicopter."
Putting their training to good use, they tried to steady both helicopter and rescue basket for each passenger.
"On a day like today, we had pretty rough seas so the basket was going all over the place in the water, so I was having to chase it."
The mission went fairly quickly, with each "hoist" lasting about 5 minutes. All 12 passengers soon taking safe comfort in the two helicopters.
"It feels great, it's one of the reasons I do this job. One of the reasons I came into the Coast Guard was to do missions like this."
WLTZ NBC 38
6140 Buena Vista Rd, Columbus, GA 31907, 706-561-3838
GA News Hotline: 706-507-6397
AL News Hotline: email@example.com