COURTESY OF THE U.S. COAST GUARD
Coast Guard crew members dropped desalination devices and fresh water Wednesday to a sailboat 500 miles north of Hilo.
Coast Guard drops water to boat in distress
HILO » A Coast Guard C-130 dropped two desalination devices and 40 gallons of fresh water Wednesday to a sailboat running out of water 500 miles north of Hilo.
The crew of two women and a man on the 35-foot Onrust radioed at about 3 p.m. Wednesday that only one gallon of water was left on board with an expected sailing time of five days before they arrived in Hilo, Coast Guard Petty Officer Michael De Nyse said yesterday.
There was no information on where the Onrust began its voyage.
The Coast Guard checked but found no ship in the area that could go to the aid of the sailboat.
The Coast Guard maintained a schedule of contacting the ship every four hours during the night and then dispatched a C-130 Hercules from Barbers Point yesterday morning.
After a two-hour flight, the plane arrived on scene at about 9:30 a.m., De Nyse said, adding that a flare producing white smoke was dropped as a marker to guide the plane.
The plane dropped a desalination pump, which uses reverse osmosis to turn sea water into fresh water, plus 20 gallons of fresh water, but there was difficulty with the parachute during that drop, De Nyse said.
A second pump and water package was then dropped.
The location 500 miles north of Hilo was the same general area where the Coast Guard assisted with the rescue of a man and woman in a two-engine Piper Seminole airplane last week. Leaking fuel, pilot Lyn Gray and co-pilot Kristian Kauter ditched in an area of calm water found for them by a Coast Guard C-130 assisted by a Navy P-3 Orion. The Maltese-flagged container ship Virginius picked the two out of the sea and brought them to within 12 miles of Oahu where they were transferred to a Coast Guard cutter for the final leg of the rescue.