Coast Guard rescues 2 boaters clinging to vessel off N.J. coast

(U.S. Coast Guard file photo)

(U.S. Coast Guard file photo)

A man and a woman are safe after they spent three hours clinging to their capsized sailboat in the Atlantic Ocean about 65 miles off Atlantic City.

The Coast Guard received a satellite distress signal from the 55-foot (17-meter) vessel Bertie on Wednesday evening. Coast Guard Petty Officer Andy Kendrick says the sailboat was headed to New York from the Bahamas when it encountered stormy conditions.

The Coast Guard launched a helicopter from Atlantic City and a plane from North Carolina. A Coast Guard cutter also was dispatched to the scene.

Kendrick says a rescue swimmer found the two hanging onto the capsized boat. WPVI reports that the Coast Guard believes the pair was blown off the deck during stormy conditions. They were not wearing life jackets, according to the WPVI report.

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The pair, who Kendrick says have been sailing around the world for the last two years, were transported to a hospital. There’s no word on their condition.

The Coast Guard has been busy in the mid-Atlantic region since Memorial Day weekend. Over the holiday period, the agency says it conducted 49 search and rescue cases and saved 64 lives. The Coast Guard was also involved in a search mission for a downed plane off Cape May Point Wednesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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