Still photo from U.S. Coast Guard video

VIDEO: Sailor, 2 Dogs Rescued by Helicopter near Smith Island

A late-night helicopter rescue– from a boat on the Chesapeake Bay in bad weather– is a harrowing experience. But when two dogs must also be rescued, that complicates things even more.

The Coast Guard had to do just that when a 26-foot sailboat became disabled because of weather conditions late Wednesday night near Smith Island.

The sailor made a VHF radio distress call around 11 p.m. The Coast Guard launched a boat crew and a helicopter aircrew, and a Maryland State Police helicopter came to help confirm the boat’s location two miles south of Smith Island.

In the dark and with tough weather conditions, the USCG aircrew hoisted the man and his two dogs to Salisbury Regional Airport. Neither man nor pups were injured. The Coast Guard video below shows the difficult conditions of this rescue:

“This instance highlights the importance of checking the weather prior to leaving for any voyage and continuing to monitor the marine forecast, as weather can change at a moment’s notice,” said Lt. Alfred Betts, public affairs officer at USCG Sector Maryland.

-Meg Walburn Viviano