Coast Guard medevacs man from sailboat near Ocracoke

Screenshot from video courtesy U.S. Coast Guard video by Air Station Elizabeth City/Released

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The Coast Guard medevaced a man from a sailboat near Ocracoke Island on Monday.

Watchstanders in the 5th Coast Guard District Command Center in Portsmouth received a personal locator beacon alert at 3:30 p.m. from about five miles west of Portsmouth Island, North Carolina. Watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast at 5:20 p.m.

An already-airborne HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City diverted to respond at 5:25 p.m. and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew launched from the air station at about 5:40 p.m.

At 6:15 p.m., the Hercules crew found a 12-foot sailboat with a man aboard, waving his arms.

When the Jayhawk crew arrived on scene, a rescue swimmer deployed and boarded the sailboat. The distressed sailor informed the rescue swimmer that he was seasick and experiencing chest pains.

The Jayhawk crew hoisted the man and transported him to The Outer Banks Hospital in Nags Heads by 7:30 p.m.

“The personal locator beacon is a reliable and powerful piece of equipment that enables boaters to send out a distress signal during an emergency,” said Matthew Brooks, command duty officer for the case. “This device was the only means by which this man was able to communicate that he was in trouble. It greatly helped us hone in on his position, and it may have saved his life.”