New dramatic video footage released by the U.S. Coast Guard shows a British Royal Navy helicopter rescuing a woman along with her two sons, from an overturned boat, after the Category 5 Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc at the Puerto Rico Island.
Both the children are reportedly 12 years old.
According to the Coast Guard, they sent out emergency signals explaining how they were immobile for nearly 12 hours and drifting in 20-foot waves and winds of 150 miles per hour near Vieques, an island off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico.
“We initially got the call — a vessel in distress, a family of four, north of St. Croix, literally in the teeth of a hurricane,” said Coast Guard Rear Admiral Peter Brown.
“We were obviously concerned,” he said. “We didn’t ask their names and didn’t ask why they were out there.”
Initially the emergency calls indicated three people were on the boat, but later indications said that another British man was also on the vessel.
Unfortunately as conditions grew worse, the Coast Guard lost contact with the vessel, but another British Royal Navy helicopter that was on its way to Puerto Rico to offer relief, spotted the family.
The vessel known as the “Ferrel” was 146 foot long.
In the footage, rescue officials can be seen rescuing the mother along with her children, who were waving at them for help, before placing them the U.S.S. Kearsarge. However, the British man, later believed to be the father of the children, didn't survive and was found dead beneath the capsized boat.
According to the Coast Guard, he had died a day before the rescue started.
The rescue officials were gratified to have saved three people from such a horrendous situation.
“There was obvious joy in the command center when the aircraft spotted them and the helicopter hoisted them to safety,” said Brown.
“We are happy were able to rescue three and sad we weren’t able to rescue the fourth.”
Banner/Thumbnail: Reuters, Jonathan Drake