PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Two women were rescued from their capsized 24-foot rowboat, American Fire, 1,300 miles east of Puerto Rico this morning.
The Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Center (RCC), located in Portsmouth, coordinated the rescue of two women, Sarah Kessans, 22, and Emily Kohl, 23, both of the United States.
The rescue began late Sunday afternoon when the RCC Portsmouth received an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). The EPIRB was registered to the rowboat American Fire crew, that was participating in the 2005 Atlantic Rowing Race, a trans-Atlantic rowboat race from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the Caribbean.
After receiving the alert the Coast Guard launched a C-130 search and Rescue airplane from Air Station Clearwater, Fl., and contacted the near by sailing vessel Starvos S. Niarchos, a 180-foot two masted sailing vessel homeported in London, England.
Kessans and Kohl were rescued by the Starvos S. Niarchos early this morning, they will ride the ship to its next port of call in Barbados.
The American Fire is the second rowboat in the race that the Coast Guard has assisted.
The Coast Guard strongly encourages boaters to wear lifevests, file a float plan with their family and local marina when going out on the water and to have a radio and flares onboard their vessels to signal for help in case of emergencies.