Three sailors experienced serious problems on board the 42-foot French-flagged sailing vessel Tao 1,200 miles off Cape Cod. The three men (one 72 and two age 79) had to be rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard. Watchstanders from the 1st Coast Guard District command center in Boston responded to the emergency radio beacon signal from the sailing vessel.
A HC-130 Hercules aircraft was deployed to St. John's, Nova Scotia and was sent to find the sailors. All vessels near the incident were contacted to help with the rescue of the sailors, 3 vessels, 500-foot Maine Maritime Academy training ship State of Maine, the motor vessel Mol Maximand the Spanish-flagged fishing vessel Robero changed their course to help.
The Hercules aircraft team reached the 42-foot French-flagged sailing vessel in a few hours, marked the location of Tao with flares, sent a life raft and radio. The sailors managed to reach the life raft in time. Tao was reported taking on water. The Spanish-flagged fishing vessel Robero arrived first on the scene and picked up the sailors (they were wearing lifejackets) from the life raft.
Petty Officer 1st Class Joaquin Alayola, a search and rescue coordinator at the 1st Coast Guard District command center said:
"This rescue demonstrates the strong bond between mariners on the open ocean."
"The Robero's crew proved that mariners from any nation can unite to help save lives in a distress situation."
The three men will be transported to the 300-foot Spanish-flagged hospital ship Esperanza. Every year, more than 2,500 search and rescue cases (New Jersey to Canada) are reported (approximately 300 people rescued).