Spencer Manson, a Petty Officer 3rd Class with the U.S. Coast Guard, got a baptism of fire on his first mission when he and his team were called to rescue a sinking sailboat some 90 miles off the coast of California.
See above for the moment the US Coast Guard plucked the crew of a sinking vessel from the raging ocean.
In winds of almost 60mph, the 79-foot schooner was being swamped by 20-foot waves. Unable to steer the vessel, the six people on board sent out a distress signal. One of the crew had a suspected broken arm and head injury, and all of them were in mortal danger.
Arriving on the scene by helicopter, Spencer, a rescue swimmer only recently qualified as an Aviation Survival Technician, was immediately lowered into the churning seas. Swimming for the boat, he grabbed hold of a trailing line and hauled himself on board. Grasping the first frightened victim, he strapped her into the rescue basket, and she was hoisted up to the safety of the chopper overhead.
It took multiple trips and a second helicopter crew to complete the rescue. But thanks to the Coast Guard’s heroics, all six people on the stricken vessel escaped with their lives.