Sailors rescued east of Bermuda after racing yacht struck by lightning

PORTSMOUTH, VA (WITN) – Two sailors are safe thanks to the Coast Guard and a nearby ship after their racing yacht was struck by lightning in the Atlantic Ocean.

Coast Guard officials say that they responded to an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) from the two sailors on the 19-foot French Racing Yacht Sogestran Seafrigo LHOR One around 6 p.m. on Sunday.

The Coast Guard said that they sent an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Elizabeth City to help the boat, and alerted other nearby ships using the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue (AMVER).

The Coast Guard plane arrived at the boat which was 1726 miles east of Bermuda around 4:45 a.m. and was able to direct a 505-foot Reefer ship, the Frio Ionian, to where the yacht was at.

The Frio Ionian crew arrived at 10 a.m. and were able to rescue two men, 20 and 24 years old, from the Sogestran Seafrigo LHOR One. The two men said that their boat started taking on water after a lightning strike reportedly caused a hole in the hull.

According to the Coast Guard, the Sogestran Seafrigo LHOR One was sailing from Guadeloupe to France. The yacht was returning to France after finishing first at the Royal Ocean Racing Club Caribbean 600 Class 40 in Antigua.