Dramatic rescue footage showed four injured sailors stranded after their boat was badly damaged in rough seas 80 miles south of Long Island, and the daring rescue to attempt to save them.
"They were in a bad way and needed to be rescued from their vessel," said LTC Dan Reilly.
Crew members out of U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod raced into the waters south of Montauk to save the men. The sailboat – named Calypso, based out of Long Island – faced deteriorating conditions: Its mast had been knocked down by what investigators called a "rogue wave" on Mother’s Day, leaving the men onboard desperately in need of immediate help.
"Once I got down into the boat and assessed the survivors on the boat, I found the best person and then kind of went down the line as far as like injuries go. We had one guy with a concussion, possible skull fracture and a bad laceration to his head, which was the worst off guy," said AST1 Edmund Bizorik. "And then there was a guy with broken ribs and everybody was moderately hypothermic at that point."
One rescue swimmer jumped into the water, battling 16-17 foot waves with daylight dwindling and the wind howling.
"It was was one of my most extremely challenging cases that I've had so far as being a rescue swimmer, but with the crew that we had everything worked out fantastically, like it made it a lot easier doing it with the crew that we had," said Bizorik.
One by one, the injured sailors were hoisted up — and all four survived.
"Trying to manage the basket, keep them from actually falling off the vessels since you have all this whitewater crashing and crashing across the bow of the vessel," said Reilly. "I mean, he had a hell of a night and it's pretty extraordinary what he did down there."
After the harrowing rescue, the injured sailors were brought to local hospitals. On Friday, the group that saved them was commended for their bravery.
"I don't think I've ever been part of like a team with like such like great seamless teamwork where we were all like on the same page," said Lt. Nick Zablotny. "I think that's just a testament to the people in the Coast Guard and like the professionalism and the amount of training that we put forth towards just getting the job done every single time."