In this frame from video provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, a Frenchman with his cat tucked inside his clothing, at right, stands on his sailboat before making a leap Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015, jumping to a waiting rescue ship, left, south of Alaska. The video shows the Frenchman on the rigging pole near the bow of his sailboat, riding wave after wave until making a dramatic leap over the railing of the Tor Viking. (Coast Guard via AP)
Frenchman and his cat make daring leap to safety from storm-tossed sailboat
October 27, 2015
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A Frenchman with his cat tucked inside his clothing made a daring leap of faith. It came when he jumped to a waiting rescue ship from his sailboat. His vessel was being battered by high seas. It was in seas south of Alaska.
The Coast Guard captured the dramatic video. It came from a C-130 Hercules airplane. It was monitoring the Oct. 20 rescue. The man's identity has not been released. But Petty Officer Lauren Steenson in Kodiak said the sailboat was named La Chimere.
The man activated a location beacon Oct. 20. It was about 400 miles south of Cold Bay, Alaska. The C-130 was sent to assess the situation.
The airplane crew made radio contact with the mariner. He reported his 30-foot sailboat had lost its rudder and rigging. It was in heavy seas and 46-mph winds.
"With the 20-foot seas, his boat is getting pretty well thrown around," she said.
He had no control. And the boat was "pretty much dead in the water." It was adrift in high seas.
The Coast Guard made contact with the Polar Pioneer. It is an oil-drilling ship. It was used by Royal Dutch Shell off Alaska's northwest coast this summer. The ship and support boats were nearby as they make their way back to Port Angeles, Washington.
The Polar Pioneer sent a support ship to rescue the sailor. The support ship was the Tor Viking.
Video shot by the Coast Guard shows the Frenchman on the rigging pole. It was near the bow of his sailboat. He was riding wave after wave until making a dramatic leap over the railing of the Tor Viking.
The video shows the man disappearing behind the railing headfirst. His legs were last to disappear behind the Tor Viking's railing. After a few seconds, a crewmember of the Tor Viking is seen walking toward the man. He then was able to stand up.
Steenson said the pilot of the C-130 told her the sailor placed his cat inside either his sweater or coat. This was done before making the leap.
Once the man was safely aboard the Tor Viking, the Coast Guard marked the position of the sailboat. That was for future reference.
It was not clear right away if the man would continue with the Shell ships to Washington State.
The sailboat left Dutch Harbor, Alaska, on Oct. 13. It was headed to Vancouver. Steenson said reports did not show if his final destination was Vancouver in Washington or British Columbia.
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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why didn't the airplane rescue the sailor?
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