Coast Guard rescues two off Apalachicola coast

Sailboat later washes up on St. George Island

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The Coast Guard rescued two men Saturday afternoon from a 42-foot sailing vessel beset by bad weather 57 miles off Apalachicola, southeast of Cape San Blas.

Rescued at about 3 p.m. were Richard Moore, 72, and John Ulrich, 77.

An Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew arrived on scene, hoisted the two mariners, and safely transferred them to Air Station Clearwater with no medical concerns.

Coast Guard 8th District Command Center watchstanders notified Coast Guard 7th District watchstanders reporting two people aboard a sailing vessel in distress due to sea conditions. The watchstanders directed the launch of a Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter crew and diverted an HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew to assist.

"Forecasted severe weather can put even the most experienced mariners at risk,” said Lt. Jonathan Ray, Jayhawk MH-60 helicopter pilot at Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater. “With that said, it’s fortunate we arrived on scene when we did because the weather was getting worse by the minute. The crew did a fantastic job in incredibly challenging and complex conditions to rescue these men before the sea could overtake their vessel.”

Local authorities planned to coordinate commercial salvage operations to remove the vessel from the water and monitor the situation to assist if conditions worsen.

Coast Guard Sector Mobile watchstanders reported 34 mph winds and 10-foot seas.

On Sunday, the boat had drifted to St. George Island, where the unoccupied vessel washed up on the shore.

“The owner is making arrangements to have the boat removed,” read a sheriff’s office post on Facebook. “Thank you to the Coast Guard for another great job.”

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