Sailors En Route from Lānaʻi to Tahiti Rescued on Remote Island
By Maui Now Staff
Two sailors are safe after their 37-foot sailing vessel, the Hina Nui, sustained severe damage after running aground on a remote island near Malden Island, Kiribati.
The US Coast Guard said the two men were en route from Lānaʻi to Tahiti when their vessel ran aground on a coral reef, stranding them.
According to the US Coast Guard, one of the sailors contacted his wife via satellite phone to relay their distress, which included irreparable damage to the sailboat.
The woman then contacted watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu at 11:20 p.m. on Wednesday, April 15, 2015.
The nearby Celebrity Solstice, a 963-foot cruise ship, located approximately 184 miles from the stranded mariners, agreed to divert course to rescue the two men, Coast Guard officials said.
“The crew of the cruise ship identified a safe location on the western side of the island and communicated with the mariners using a VHF radio,” officials with the US Coast Guard said.
“The men hiked from the eastern tip of the island where the sailboat grounded, and met the rescue crew from the cruise ship. At approximately 10 a.m., the men were successfully transported back to the cruise ship,” according to information released by the Coast Guard.
The Celebrity Solstice is currently en route to its next port call to the Hawaiian Islands.
“The fact that these men were well prepared with an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon and a satellite phone contributed to their successful rescue,” said Leiutenant j.g. Heidi Will, a search and rescue coordinator at the JRCC.
“Mariners are advised to carry all appropriate safety equipment as maritime emergencies can occur quickly and without warning to even the most experienced individuals,” officials said.