PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew members share their story after rescuing a sailor who had been missing since January.
According to our sister station WAVY, on Friday morning, the USCG aircrew spoke for the first time after Thursday’s rescue. The aircrew says they received a call from District 5 Command Center about a man needing assistance at sea, around 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
The German container ship Houston Express had taken aboard the sailor, 36-year-old Louis Jordan, from a disabled sailboat 200 miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras, N.C. When the aircrew arrived around 3 p.m., they hoisted Jordan off the German container ship and onto the MH-60 Jayhawk. They say the whole mission took about 10 minutes.
“We were just trying to get there as quickly as possible because you always want to be able to execute a successful mission and bring him back to his family,” said Lt. Cmdr. Todd Farrell, the aircraft commander.
Rescue swimmer Petty Officer 3rd class Kyle McCollum said, “He was standing, and looking in pretty good health. It was good to see that.”
The crew says for Jordan to be in such a great state was pretty amazing. “I think himself and the willingness to survive made him survive that long,” said Farrell.
“He kept referring back to the Bible. That’s what his biggest thing of survival was,” said Mccollum. “Trying to make it through, trying to make it through. Just that will to live.”
Jordan is from Conway, South Carolina, and calls himself an inexperienced sailor. Before Thursday, he was last seen January 23 with the Angel at Bucksport Marina, which is just south of Myrtle Beach. His family reported him missing to the Coast Guard January 29. Jordan was traveling north when the Angel hit rough weather. He said he saw a wave crash into his window on the boat. He was flying through the air. Everything was upside down. The boat filled with water. The boat capsized and lost its mast and all the electronics on board became disabled.
Lt. Krystyn Pecora with the U.S. Coast Guard in Portsmouth said Jordan survived by rationing food he had on board, catching fish to eat with a net and collecting rain water to drink.
Jordan was taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. Officials say he is in good condition.
“We’re happy he’s alive,” said Farrell. “The great thing is he gets to go home and see his parents. He gets to see another day.”