SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Battling 15-foot seas and 20 mph winds, a Coast Guard helicopter has rescued three crewmembers off a disabled sailboat, floundering off the Northern California coast.

Coast Guard officials said the owner of the 30-foot sailboat, Freedom, contacted their San Francisco command center at approximately 11 p.m. Tuesday.

He radioed that he and the two other passengers aboard were feeling unsafe during their transit due to the harsh sea conditions.

In conversation with the Coast Guard, the Pillar Point Harbor Patrol launched a crew to aid the sailboat, but they were forced to turn back by heavy seas.

Shortly after, the Freedom crew informed the Coast Guard that they had experienced loss of steering and engine failure. A 47-foot boat and a Coast Guard helicopter crew were immediately dispatched to assist the crew.

“It was so dark out that I couldn’t see the boat, even while wearing night vision googles, until we were right on top of it,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Steve King, the rescue swimmer aboard the Dolphin helicopter. “It was really great that they had flares.”

The Dolphin crew arrived on scene at approximately 12:35 a.m. Wednesday and lowered a rescue swimmer who hoisted all three passengers and took them to Air Station San Francisco with no reported injuries.

“My team did a great job working through these challenging conditions to result in 3 lives saved.” said, Lt. Katherine Voth, the aircraft commander aboard the Dolphin helicopter.

The Coast Guard has issued a safety marine-information broadcast warning of an adrift sailing vessel.

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