Hurricane Chasers Help Rescue Sailboat Crew

While collecting potentially life-saving information on a powerful hurricane near the Hawaiian Islands, a WC-130J crew from Air Force Reserve Command’s 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron helped the Coast Guard rescue three people on a disabled boat on the edge of the massive storm. The airmen had just completed a final survey into the eye of Hurricane Julio on Aug. 10 when the Coast Guard asked for help in locating a 42-foot sailboat that had a dead engine and was taking on water, according to an Aug. 11 release. The stormy weather hampered visual surveillance, but the crew was able to home in on the boat’s emergency signal. A Navy oceanographer aboard the WC-130J then spotted the boat and the aircrew passed on the boat’s location to the Coast Guard to complete the rescue. “We were very lucky to have a Hurricane Hunter WC-130J nearby that bought us some time and offered a great sense of hope to the sailboat,” said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Jason Hagen. The WC-130J departed its home at Keesler AFB, Miss., on Aug. 5 to monitor Hurricane Iselle and then Julio as they neared Hawaii.