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Boaters caught in Tropical Storm Alex rescued hundreds of miles off Virginia's coast

The rescue involved the sailing vessel Faule Haut nearly 400 miles southeast of Virginia Beach in the midst of 10 to 12-foot seas and strong winds.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The U.S. Coast Guard rescued three boaters caught in the middle of Tropical Storm Alex hundreds of miles off Virginia's coast Monday night.

The rescue involved the sailing vessel Faule Haut nearly 400 miles southeast of Virginia Beach in the midst of 10 to 12-foot seas and strong winds.

The command center for the Coast Guard's 5th District got a beacon alert indicating the boaters were caught in the middle of Alex. Watchstanders also tried to call them on their cell phones, but they didn't answer.

Two aircraft crews from the Coast Guard base in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, located the vessel, noticing the main mast of the boat was broken and the boaters using flashlights as a signal. The rescuers dropped a radio to help with communicating during the operation.

An aircraft crew from Air Station Clearwater in Florida joined the operation, taking over rescue support operations while one of the Elizabeth City crews refueled. Another vessel in the area, the Aegean Harmony, also helped out.

Eventually, the boaters were rescued and returned safely to shore. No injuries were reported.

According to Lt. Andrew Grady, the command duty officer for the 5th District Command Center, the Coast Guard was able to quickly locate the boaters thanks to an onboard emergency radio beacon.

 "As we enter the busy boating season, the Coast Guard would like to remind the boating public on the importance of having safety gear and emergency signaling devices on board in case of distress," Lt. Grady said in a news release.

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