As It Happens

Canadian tall ship crew rescued by U.S. Coast Guard

It was a cold, wet, seasick-inducing night for the nine crew members of the Canadian tall ship, the Liana’s Ransom. Around 12:35 am, the ship’s engines died and the sails wrapped around the mast. The ship was being rocked back and forth, bobbing around, and that’s when the U.S. Coast came to help.
The U.S. coast guard helps a man on board.

It was a cold, wet, seasick-inducing night for the nine crew members of the Canadian tall ship, the Liana's Ransom. Around 12:35 am, the ship's engines died and the sails wrapped around the mast. The ship was being rocked back and forth, bobbing around off the coast of Massachusetts, when the U.S. Coast came to help.

The Liana's Ransom sailed out of Halifax on Friday bound for the Caribbean, but its engine died. Without use of  tangled sails, and as the wind and waves picked up, the captain decided it was time to call for assistance.

Lieutenant Junior Grade James Christy was a co-pilot on the U.S. Coast Guard helicopter that raced to the scene. He tells As it Happens host, Carol Off, that the conditions weren't great on the water.

"The challenging part about yesterday was that it wasn't sustained high winds, it was gusty. And it wasn't steady, nice, rolling seas, it was really hard to time waves, which made it really difficult for the [coast guard] to come up to the vessel because both of the vessels were just swaying back and forth at the mercy of the seas," says Christy.

Two coast guard lifeboats tried to tow the vessel back, but rough sea conditions caused a tow line to break. So the lifeboat crews instructed the crew of the Halifax-based ship to don immersion suits and prepare to abandon ship. It was a difficult rescue, requiring the crew to jump one-by-one as the coast guard vessels realigned with the Liana's Ransom.

But for the final crew member, the transfer was particularly rough.

"There's one individual who actually jumped. You could see at that point, that last survivor just misjudged the appropriate time to make his step over and that's how dynamic the seas were."

The man is pictured jumping from the Liana's Ransom onto the rescue vessel. He suffered a concussion and was transferred to a hospital in Boston.

"It was definitely challenging," says Christy.

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