a 3-day tour

On Friday, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued a man who had been stranded on an uninhabited island for three days after his sailboat was disabled.

The sailor was first spotted by an auxiliary aircrew attached to Coast Guard Air Station Miami. (Auxiliary aircrew members are private civilian pilots who volunteer their time and aircraft for Coast Guard missions, including search and rescue.) The volunteers were flying over Florida Strait when they spotted signal flares from a small sailboat near Cay Sal, a remote island about 100 nm due south of Miami.

Though part of the Bahamas, Cay Sal is located on the south side of the Florida Strait, closer to Cuba than to Nassau. It is abandoned, but Cuban refugees are often stranded there, and the Bahamas has a standing arrangement with the Coast Guard for regular overflights to look for any potential survivors in need of rescue. The auxiliary aircrew reported the sighting to Coast Guard Sector Key West for a response.

An Air Station Miami Ocean Sentry aircrew flew out to the site to establish contact and drop basic supplies, including food, water and a radio. The man told the aircrew he’d been stranded for three days after his vessel became disabled during a voyage.  Read on.