A former Chattanooga man and two companions who were missing at sea for over a week after a storm hit during their sailboat trip from Japan to Hawaii, have been found safe by the crew of a merchant ship.
They were safely transferred from their small craft to the ship and were on their way to Honolulu.
A Facebook site that has been giving updates about the search, said late Sunday afternoon, "THEY FOUND THEM ALIVE!!!! Praise Jesus the Coast Guard found all the men alive!! More information coming in 2 hours."
However, family members said Pete Brown, 43 and a graduate of Chattanooga Christian School, was not yet out of danger. But later it was related that they had been moved safely to the large ship. They were then able to chat by Internet with rejoicing family members.
Christine Brown said before the post about them being moved to the ship:
All the men are alive.
Chris and Sumiyama likely have head injuries.
All three have non-life threatening injuries as well.
A merchant ship spotted them 200+ miles south of where they were expected to be.
The guys rigged up a make shift sail which is why they were outside of the search range. Commander said they were “ingenious”.
The transfer to a second merchant ship will occur in 6 hours once they reach the area. The first ship can not pick up the men but are staying at the site until the second ship arrives.
The commander has decided that the risk of leaving the injured men on the boat one more night is too risky and will do the transfer at dusk or dark. Transfers are usually done in the safety of daylight. The area will be at dusk in 5-6 hours.
**The transfer is very concerning since it will be made in the middle of the ocean from a small bobbing sail boat to a large merchant ship.
They may have have to enter the water in order to get to the merchant ship.
The C130 USCG plane will fly over and monitor the transfer.
They will also drop medical supplies, food and a transmitter/satellite phone to the men.
They should be back to Hawaii by 1/2/20.
They will receive medical care on board the merchant ship and will be transferred off if the injuries are worse than expected.
She later was able to report:
From the Commander:
“All 3 safely aboard the Motor Vessel Kalamazoo container ship and en route Honolulu. Estimated arrival on Jan. 2. We are working with the container ship medic now on medical assessment. Everyone seems fine and in good spirits.
Transfer was non-eventful.
It is my privilege on behalf of the US Coast Guard to have served you during this trying and dramatic time.
Happy New Year and God Bless!”
Yes, God does bless us!
* * *
Pete Brown and his buddies launched their odyssey about four weeks ago. Prior to arriving at the Hawaiian Islands, they were hit by a bad storm. It tore away their sails and left them drifting in the ocean.
Search crews have been going out each day since the family became concerned after Christmas after not hearing from them for several days.
A Navy P-8 plane has been involved in the search as well as Coast Guard crews.
The plane dropped satellite-enabled buoys into the ocean to track the actual drift of the sailboat since the storm compared to computer-enhanced drift models also being used.
Pete Brown moved to Taiwan over 10 years ago. He has been operating a pizza restaurant in Taitung City. He took a wife there, Sofia, and they have a son, Baylo.
Chattanooga friends remember Pete Brown as always being up for an adventure.