The rower contacted the Coast Guard at approximately 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning, after capsizing multiple times due to unexpectedly rough seas and high winds. Due to the proximity of the rowboat, approximately 52 miles west of Morro Bay, California, Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach Command Center contacted Air Station San Francisco to conduct the rescue operation.
The rower remained in continuous communication with the Coast Guard via satellite phone until the helicopter crew arrived on scene at approximately 6:12 a.m. Once on scene, the Coast Guard helicopter crew lowered a rescue swimmer, who swam to the rowboat and assessed the situation. After determining that the rower was in stable condition, he was hoisted into the helicopter and transferred to awaiting emergency medical crews at Monterey Regional Airport.
"A lot of planning was involved in this particular rescue, due to low visibility and challenging weather conditions," said Lieutenant Commander Blake McKinney, an Air Station San Francisco pilot involved in the rescue of the rower. "As a participant in the Great Pacific Race, the rower was well equipped with by filing a float plan, bringing a satellite phone and ensuring he had appropriate gear for the rough sea state he encountered. The fact that the rower was so well prepared increased his chance for survival and enabled him to call the Coast Guard for help."
This is the Coast Guard's second rescue associated with the Great Pacific Race. Coast Guard officials are working closely with race organizers to monitor participant progress and help ensure the remainder of the event is as safe as possible.
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