WEST MIFFLIN (KDKA) – A West Mifflin man was one of four sailors rescued by the Coast Guard off the coast of South Carolina.
Joel Kreider and his shipmates were sailing from the British Virgin Islands last week when their boat died right as Tropical Storm Andrea was blowing in.
It was an emotional experience to say the least for Kreider, who is an experienced sailor. A trip to pick up his new sailboat turned into a dangerous adventure to stay alive and afloat.
“The storm was so bad that they didn’t reach us until 10 a.m. the next morning. So, we spent a tough night,” Kreider said.
Bobbing 70 miles outside of Charleston, S.C., the Coast Guard rescued the four crew members, including Kreider.
“We were just holding on. Hoping the help would get there,” Kreider said.
The crew had picked up the sailboat in the British Virgin Islands and were heading to Virginia when everything went wrong – starting with a loss of power. They were forced to hand-steer the boat 24 hours a day for about a week.
Kreider said then there was a clear warning a storm was coming.
“The sea turned into like glass. And we just sat there bobbing and made no headway,” Kreider said.
With the boat bashed by waves, Kreider broke down and called the Coast Guard on a satellite phone. They needed to abandon ship.
“It was a relief to get off. I don’t think we would have been quite so lucky the next night,” Kreider said.
Kreider praised the amazing work the Coast Guard did and was finally able to make the call to his wife.
“It was the first call I made when I got to land,” Kreider said. “She met me at the airport on Saturday and it was good to feel her arms around me and vice-versa.”
Kreider is able to track his boat and he said it appears to still be afloat at sea.
He’s working with his insurance company in the hopes of retrieving it.