SAN DIEGO, CA— On 01 April 2014 guided missile cruiser USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN (CG-57) received a report of a man attempting to flag down a helicopter while conducting flight operations in the Third Fleet area of responsibility.
Upon investigation of the report, LAKE CHAMPLAIN discovered the man waving a distress flag onboard a small sailing vessel. The man, a citizen of the United States, said his vessel had lost all electrical power and its sails had been degraded so much that he wasn’t able to sail to shore. The man stated that he had been stranded at sea for approximately four days and had run out of food and water.
LAKE CHAMPLAIN brought the man onboard and gave him a standard medical evaluation. He was found to be in good condition and was provided food and water while spending a night onboard the ship.
“It is the duty of every seagoing vessel to render assistance to any person found at sea in danger of being lost and to rescue anyone in distress. The United States follows the Law of the Sea and so it was our responsibility to rescue the individual,” said Captain Christopher Barnes, LAKE CHAMPLAIN’s Commanding Officer.
Upon arrival in San Diego, USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN released the man to San Diego Border Control and Customs officials. The fast actions and diligent watch standing of USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN crew members ensured a safe return home for their fellow mariner stranded at sea.