U.S. Coast Guard Air crew back on Cape Cod after rescuing 31 fishermen from sinking boat

SANDWICH, Mass. — The U.S. Coast Guard Air crew is back on base in Cape Cod after helping to rescue 31 fishermen from a sinking boat halfway between the Cape and Nova Scotia.

“It felt very rewarding,” said Philip Moralis, Avionics Electrical Technician First Class for the U.S. Coast Guard.

The U.S. Coast Guard is proud of their hard work after saving dozens of lives from a sinking vessel nearly 200 miles off the coast of Nova Scotia Tuesday night.

“There is no margin for error, the sea is incredibly unforgiving, it has a low tolerance for mistakes,” said Lt. Travis Christy, aircraft commander for the U.S. Coast Guard.

Lt. Christy says this was the most challenging rescue of their career, battling strong winds and thirty foot waves in international waters.

“We also had the non-flying pilot calling out the swells as they were coming in, saying hey there’s a big wave coming in five, four, three, two so we could essentially time the roll and pitch of the vessel to safely deliver the device, essentially a bulls eye on the back quarter of the boat where it was free of obstacles,” said Lt. Christy.

Timing was everything and they even lost four of their trail lines while hoisting up the survivors to their Jayhawk helicopters.

The Canadian Coast Guard rescued several men, leaving the rest for this U.S. air crew.

“So trying to put that trail line down safely and then connect the basket and get the basket safely down with the boat rolling and trying to thread that needle there was tough,” said Moralis. “Every time we picked somebody up, we took the load and backed off it, bringing them up it was like, I kept thinking to myself slow is smooth and smooth is fast.”

These airmen say it’s a night they’ll never forget.

“In a helicopter hoisting environment everything is inherently dynamic, however when you throw in 30 foot seas and winds that are above 50 knots, it just becomes a crew coordination exercise to the level we rarely get to see,” said Lt. Christy. “Most people will talk about a case like this once in their career and this happened to be ours last night.”

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