Three people are safe after being rescued from an American sailboat about 800 kilometres northeast of Gander.

The Melita was heading to Iceland when it encountered six-metre seas and hurricane force winds on Tuesday night.

The sailors called the Canadian Coast Guard in St. John's for help.

The coast guard vessel Cygnus and a military plane responded. The Hercules aircraft remained in the area while a cargo ship, the Megan C, arrived on scene Wednesday morning to rescue the three.

They're now headed to Montreal on board the ship.

There is no information on what happened to the sailboat.