(NEW ORLEANS) — A Coast Guard aircrew pulled a man and his wife from the Gulf of Mexico Thursday, rescuing the man as he was believed to be suffering a heart attack.
Authorities at the 8th Coast Guard District in New Orleans received a call around 6 a.m. from the wife’s son reporting that his mother and stepfather were stranded on their 64-foot sailboat 200 miles offshore of New Orleans. The son told authorities his mom believed her husband, who has a history of heart disease, was suffering a heart attack, Petty Officer Bill Colclough confirmed to ABC News.
The Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter crew out of Mobile, Ala., which reached the sailboat’s location around 9 a.m.
“They were about 200 miles offshore — a pretty significant distance — and there were some significant weather challenges as well,” Colclough said of the time lapse.
The couple, on their way home to Houston from a vacation in Cozumel, Mexico, did have one key item on board that played an important role in their rescue.
“They did have an electronic position radio beacon that was working properly so that aided in our ability to locate them pretty quickly and effectively,” Colclough said.
Once the crew arrived, two rescue swimmers were deployed from the helicopter to transport the husband and wife, who were not identified, into the water so they could then be hoisted up to safety in the helicopter.
Rescuers reported six to eight foot seas and heavy winds at the sailboat’s location.
Once the husband and wife were aboard the helicopter, they were flown to the Air Station New Orleans in Belle Chasse, La., nearly 30 minutes away, where they were met by waiting EMTs.
The couple was transported to nearby Oxford Medical Center. The husband was reported as stable upon arriving. The wife did not suffer any injuries save for minor hypothermia, according to Colclough.
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