SAN FRANCISCO (CBS13/AP) – The U.S. Coast Guard has rescued two injured sailors from a yacht that was hit by a monster wave while participating in an around-the-world race.
Petty Officer Caleb Critchfield says a rescue boat reached the battered yacht about 200 miles off the coast and transported the sailors to a Coast Guard cutter.
A spokeswoman for the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race says the two were being treated aboard the cutter and will receive additional medical aid when the vessel reaches San Francisco Bay.
The injured are a 50-year-old woman who may have suffered broken ribs, and a 29-year-old man with a possible pelvic strain.
Race officials say the nearly 70-foot Geraldton Western Australia was hit by a large wave Saturday, knocking out its steering mounting.
Two others suffered minor injuries and will continue with the rest of the crew sailing to San Francisco Bay.
A CBS13 news photographer flew with a U.S. Coast Guard plane tried to reach the 13 crew members on board the yacht on Saturday night, but high winds and surf battered the ship making it too dangerous even for the Coast Guard.
“We were able to drop off medical supplies to them,” said Petty Officer Levi Read
The vessel was competing in a yacht race around the world. They traveled from China to San Francisco when they ran into trouble.
Three of the injured are based in Britain, and one crew member is from Australia. Nine of the ten big racing boats arrived safely at Oakland’s Jack London Square.
“A wave would break and would wash down the boat. Under the wave they have to be clipped on, but it’s not unusual to happen, what’s unusual is the magnitude of the wave,” said sailor John Benyon.
Many of those on board had a lot of training, but not much experience in the open ocean.
“Few days in we had quite lumpy weather, all headwinds, good waves. We had a few injuries on the boat then, but in the last 3 weeks, it’s all been down wind, I think up to 55 knots was the highest. Quite windy,” said sailor Tom Huitson from London.