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.

Comments (6)
  1. cct24 says:

    I wasn’t aware that C-130s 9an airplane) could hover ; ) I think Orbit is the word the lovely Neda was looking for.

  2. stan atkinson says:

    Bill them!

    1. cct24 says:

      Really? That is like a fire department billing a family who’s kid died in the accident they responded to. This is a Service we pay for with our taxes. Good job USCG!!! Tax money well spent ; )

  3. Nicholas says:

    Now that is what I call service. the coast guard doesn’t have to do it, but they do because they know that they save lives in the high seas.

  4. Norm says:

    As an EX Coastie I can tell you the unofficial motto is you have to go out but you don’t have to return. That said, saving lives at sea is one of the most rewarding missions of the CG. We can do the impossible with old equipment, insufficient budgets and minimum crews but to hover a C130, that is beyond the capabilities of the Coast Guard. It would circle the mission zone and function as on scene command while the Helio and vessels affect the rescue or assistance.

  5. driranek says:

    As a small sailboat racer a couple things about this disturb me:
    – A round-the-world race boat wasn’t carrying the first aid gear for a reasonably expected emergency?
    – Another article said the boat took a 20 foot wave over the stern. If the boat was stern-to the waves the captain was much more interested in speed than safety.

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