Cadets on training ship rescue people stranded at sea for 15 days

Texas A&M Maritime Academy ship rescues disabled vessel. Image courtesy of Texas A&M Maritime Academy.

Cadets sailing on a Texan training vessel have received a first-hand lesson in the laws of the sea, after coming across a small vessel disabled and in distress.

While travelling from Texas to Florida aboard TS Kennedy, Texas A&M Maritime Academy cadets William Flores and Kai Ethridge spotted a stricken vessel in the Gulf of Mexico, during their morning watch.

“Shortly after sunrise, a small black object was spotted in the distance. Maintaining a close watch, I could see the shape of a small vessel through my binoculars as we got closer,” Ethridge says. “We passed the vessel on our starboard side, and all of a sudden, three heads popped out of the small craft and started waving.”

The disabled vessel, which had three people on board, had been drifting for 15 days. Capt. Wade Howell, master of the academy’s training ship, began rescue protocols in conjunction with the US Coast Guard and brought them aboard.

The rescued individuals subsequently received medical treatment before being reunited with their families.

“I’ve had 20-plus years at sea, and I’ve only experienced one other incident such as this,” Howell says.

The Kennedy made a quick detour offshore of Key West to drop the individuals with the US Coast Guard to take charge of their care before proceeding to Fort Lauderdale.

The 165-metre TS Kennedy is midway through its annual summer sea semester for 171 student cadets onboard in various Texas A&M degree programmes.

“Being a part of something like this was an amazing experience,” Flores says. “The actions of the captain and crew definitely saved the lives onboard.

“Things could have gone a lot worse for all parties, but everything turned out okay in the end.”

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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