U.S. Coast Guard rescue personnel in Hawaii received a call that the sailing vessel Walkabout was disabled and taking on water. The yachtsmen reported their life raft was deflated and they did not have an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) on board their boat. Coast Guard personnel requested a hurricane hunter aircraft divert and make radio contact with the sailboat.
The crew of the Walkabout reported to the hurricane hunter aircraft they "... were confident in riding out the storm..." until 20 minutes later when their main hatch blew off and the boat began taking on even more water.
Coast Guard personnel launched additional rescue aircraft from Air Station Barbers Point and used the Amver system to send the 711 foot container ship Manukai to rescue the stricken yachtsmen. The Manukai, managed by Matson Inc., is no stranger to search and rescue having saved an Air Force pilot after he ejected from an F-16 over the Pacific Ocean in 2012.
The Manukai arrived on scene and tried several attempts to pass a line and six-person life raft to the sailboat. The crew of the Manukai reported weather conditions were winds more than 25 knots and waves approximately 20 feet. The crew of the container ship reported the three sailors were uninjured and decided to wait until first light to for further rescue attempts.
At first light the crew of the Manukai was able to rescue the three sailors using the container ship's Jacob's Ladder. The survivors were being evaluated by the crew but appeared uninjured and would remain aboard the Manukai until it reached Honolulu. The sailboat was left adrift.
Video credit: USCG courtesy video