An Australian man was rescued off Maui after he was blown off course during a journey from Panama to Australia in a homemade boat, the Coast Guard said today.
The Coast Guard and a good Samaritan rescued the 62-year-old man about 3 1/2 miles west of Keehi Harbor on Sunday.
The man was in Kehaar Darwin, a 30-foot sailboat, without communication equipment or an engine and his sails were in poor condition. He departed Panama 104 days earlier.
On Sunday afternoon, he flagged down the commercial passenger boat Trilogy V for help, appearing disoriented and saying he was having trouble making it into port. He was rescued in 17 to 23 mph winds and 4-foot seas.
A Coast Guard crew in a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium towed the man to Sugar Beach on Maui, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection will interview him before he resumes his voyage.
“Being disoriented while at sea in a vessel with no communication capabilities aboard can be deadly if not handled quickly,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jacob Schlereth, a boarding officer and engineer at Station Maui, in a release. “We commend the good Samaritan for recognizing the complications and contacting the proper authorities to initiate a rescue.”