SAN FRANCISCO (CBS13) – It was a rescue mission in highly volatile weather over unpredictable seas. Coast Guard crew members from Sacramento flew a C-130 Hercules 500 miles off the California coast Saturday afternoon to save people on board a yacht.
Strong winds and massive waves damaged a yacht that was on its way from China to California in a sailing race around the world. A CBS13 photographer was the only one on the C-130 to catch the heroism in action.
The pilot, Lt. Callan Robbins, describes the unwavering focus it took to fly 200 feet above water at a speed of 130 mph.
“The perfect practice we do definitely helped out, and on top of that, just the adrenaline rush,” said Robbins.
Robbins had radio operators and navigators guiding his moves.
Just as they reached the boat, drop master Garth Booye dropped medical supplies.
“They tell us 15 second standby, you wait for them to tell u drop. It went really well, landed right where we wanted to,” said Booye.
It landed 30 feet from the boats bow. They reeled in the medical kit, and the three injured sailors got the initial treatment they so desperately needed.
“Extremely proud, it’s a great feeling to be able to say you saved three lives,” said Robbins.
The C-130 crew went back out to the rescue scene Sunday to hover and keep an eye on a helicopter and large rescue vessel called a cutter.
The injured sailors were offloaded off their yacht onto that coast guard cutter.