Whale Hits Sailboat Leaving One Overboard At Sea

06/21/2012 10:20 AM ET

The coast guard rescued an experienced sailor on Tuesday after his sailboat was hit by a whale, and he was left stranded.

The 67-year-old Northern California resident was sailing alone, approximately 40 miles off the western coast of Mexico, in his 50-foot boat when it was struck by a whale.

“The impact from the collision knocked out the sailboat’s steering, and the vessel began taking on water late Tuesday,” U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Pamela Boehland said.

Sacramento Sailor Max Young attempted to stop water from entering the vessel by stuffing a mattress into the hole that the whale caused. In addition, he activated four bilge pumps and was “trying to bail out water as fast as he could, because he didn’t know how long it would take to be rescued,” his wife, Debra Young, told The Associated Press.

The Coast Guard was alerted by emergency beacons, which Young activated.

“His EPIRB delivered an exact position to us, contact information that allowed us to quickly discern the sail plan of and number of persons on the vessel, and really took a lot of the search out of the search and rescue,” said Lt. Charles Kelly, of the Coast Guard’s command center in Alameda, Calif.

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