FALMOUTH (CBS) — It was a high seas adventure that was supposed to take Manfred Jabbush of Germany and Heinz Fragner of Austria from Florida to Greece, but it ended off the coast of Massachusetts.
Their 45-foot sailing boat Eva got caught in rough seas about 120 miles off Nantucket, 20 to 30 foot waves tossing the boat and the two men as they took on water, their pumps no longer working, the mast and windows broken.
“If you hit a monster wave, you have no chance to survive,” said Jabbush, an experienced sailor who thought they could handle the weather.
The two men had flown to Florida, borrowed a friend’s boat and ended up in New York for repairs when the auto-pilot malfunctioned.
WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano reports.
Their next stop was the Azores, but they were forced to send a distress call to the Coast Guard for help.
They huddled in the cabin waiting for help which would come an hour and a half later.
“We went down and back and everything in the boat moved to other places, to a lot of other places. It was terrible, terrible,” said Jabbush.
A four man crew located the boat in fog and high winds and transported them to the hovering helicopter and to Air Station Cape Cod.
“They were pretty grateful. They said, ‘We want to leave.’ I said, ‘Yeah I can understand that,’” said rescue swimmer Randy Rice.
The Coast Guard gave the men credit for being prepared with the appropriate survival gear. As for the weather Heinz Fragner says they’re always prepared.
“Especially with the North Atlantic, the North Atlantic is no playground, it is dangerous,” he said.
The two men were taken to Falmouth Hospital for minor back injuries, then boarded a cab with only their passports and some clothes, not knowing what’s next.
“We have to think about that tomorrow,” said Fragner. “Today we want to get sleep.”