Four men were rescued Tuesday after their boat ran out of gas and drifted for three days.
US Coast Guard crews and British Virgin Islands authorities rescued the men near British territory.
“The survivors are a Frenchman and three Dutch nationals, who were traveling aboard the 30-foot pleasure boat Water Baby on Sunday morning from Anguilla to Saint-Martin, when their vessel ran out of fuel,” the statement said.
“The execution of this search and rescue business was superb and resulted in the saving of four souls lost at sea,” said Chief Petty Officer Luis Cabrera, Chief Supervisor of Coast Guard Boat Forces St. Thomas, noting that ” despite the darkness of the night, our Boat Forces crew were able to perform various search models and locate the vessel in distress. ”
“We appreciate and thank the authorities in the British Virgin Islands for their cooperation in taking charge of the towing of the vessel and keeping boaters safe in Tortola,” Cabrera said.
The San Juan Coast Guard received a call at 3:41 p.m. Tuesday from a Virgin Islands search and rescue operator relaying the Good Samaritan report.
Based on a WhatsApp communication, the Good Samaritan was able to give the general position of the boat, about 15 nautical miles south of the British Virgin Islands.
A Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry twin-engine aircraft was diverted to search and a Boat Forces St. Thomas special-purpose craft was launched. The watchmen also transmitted an urgent maritime information program advising maritime traffic in the region to be on the lookout for the missing boat.
At around 7:06 p.m. Tuesday, the watchmen received a VHF communication on channel 16 from the sailboat Pilar indicating the sighting of a flare.
Using the Pilar’s contact details, the Coast Guard boat crew investigated and found the Water Baby with her four passengers safely on board.
“The rescued boaters were exhausted, hungry and thirsty, but otherwise appeared to be in good health. While communicating with the Coast Guard crew, the rescued boaters confirmed to be adrift for three days, sending the WhatsAPP communication and firing a rocket, ”according to the press release.
The Coast Guard crew took the Water Baby in tow and made an appointment with a British Virgin Islands Customs vessel, which continued the tow and brought the boaters to Tortola.
Channel 16 is the International Distress Frequency and is received worldwide by any VHF radio. It is used for distress and emergency calls as well as for Coast Guard news broadcasts.