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HMS Bounty rescuers receive top IMO Bravery Award for hurricane rescue

by IMO/Sail-World Cruising on 1 Dec 2013
Bounty as she proudly was, and the tragic sight of her sinking .. .
An IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea 2013 went to two American rescuers involved in the HMS Bounty rescue. The American rescuers were presented with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea 2013, during a special ceremony held on this week at IMO Headquarters in London.

Aviation Survival Technician Second Class Randy J. Haba and Aviation Survival Technician Second Class Daniel J. Todd of the United States Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, were nominated by the Government of the United States, for responding to a distress alert from HMS Bounty, during the pre-dawn hours of 29 October 2012, and overcoming the effects of cold, fatigue and ingesting sea water to deliver 14 crew members of HMS Bounty to safety, during Hurricane Sandy.

The story of the bravery of ASTs Haba and Todd:
On October 2012, the replica sailing ship HMS Bounty became caught up in the deadly path of Hurricane Sandy. Shortly before first light, the ship was sinking, but the crew managed to put out a distress call – a call that was heard by the United States Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, in North Carolina. Two rescue helicopters were immediately dispatched. Aboard them were aviation survival technicians Randy Haba and Daniel Todd.

After flying through the outer bands of Hurricane Sandy, in strong winds and torrential rain, they found the ship, partially submerged within a large debris field, and surrounded by life rafts.

AST Haba was the first to arrive at the scene. Descending into the stormy waters, he spent an hour battling strong currents and 10 metre waves, in driving wind and rain, taking survivors from the life rafts to the waiting rescue basket. Overcoming exhaustion and fatigue, AST Haba demonstrated the utmost determination and perseverance, performing two more rescues without the use of a mask. He exhibited exceptional strength and endurance throughout the entire rescue.

His colleague, AST Todd, arrived 30 minutes later and immediately deployed into the turbulent sea to begin the task of reaching another life raft. He began straight away to extract stricken survivors from the raft and deliver them to the safety of the rescue basket.

His strength and ingenuity expedited the rescue of the six survivors. By acting so promptly, he saved valuable time – time which he used to reposition himself to a second life raft, containing three additional survivors, whom he also successfully rescued.

Both men overcame the effects of cold, fatigue and ingesting sea water to deliver a total of 14 crew members of HMS Bounty to safety.

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