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Video: U.S. Coast Guard Crosses Border to Save a Sailor and His Dogs

Dog rescue
Courtesy USCG

Published Dec 28, 2022 10:21 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Wednesday, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter aircrew crossed the Canadian border to rescue a grounded sailor and two canine passengers. 

On Tuesday night, watchstanders at the Coast Guard's Sector Puget Sound station received a report that a sailing vessel had gone aground about three miles west of the town of Jordan River, in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The area is on the Canadian side of the strait, but the situation was urgent and the boat was being battered by waves. 

Air Station Port Angeles - located just 35 miles to the southeast of Jordan River - launched a Dolphin rescue helicopter to the scene. They arrived at about 0100 hours Wednesday and rescued two occupants - one human sailor and one dog. They delivered both to shore at the Canadian Coast Guard's station in Victoria, B.C., where emergency medical services were waiting to evaluate the survivors. 

On Wednesday morning, the aircrew flew back to the scene of the wreck to conduct an overflight and assess the situation. At about 1100 hours, the team spotted another dog on shore in a rocky, isolated cove. They deployed their rescue swimmer to recover it, and they transported the dog back to rejoin its master at the Canadian Coast Guard station. 

"AET3 Austen Marshall and AST1 Lucas Wengrin did a phenomenal job effecting a challenging rescue in the heavy surf, as the sailing vessel smashed against the rocks,” said Lt. John Schultz, a pilot at Air Station Port Angeles. “Their patience and technical expertise in a highly dynamic environment directly lead to the safe recovery of the mariner and his two dogs. We are thankful for the happy outcome!"

The rescues were carried out in coordination with the Canadian Coast Guard. The two agencies have a cooperative agreement for VTS management and emergency response for the busy waterway, including trans-border operations.