Rescuers headed into Hurricane Julio to save three men caught in the storm while sailing to Hawaii. Fierce winds broke the mast and blew away the life raft. The disabled boat was flooding in rough seas more than 400 miles northeast of Oahu.
Relatives said the sailors from Stockton left California last month. They managed to steer clear of Hurricane Iselle, but got caught up in Julio. The men are expected to arrive at Honolulu Harbor early Tuesday morning on the Matson container ship that was diverted to saved them.
The Walkabout sailed out of Long Beach, California more than three weeks ago. Relatives said that Ben Neely, 61, his son Lee Neely, 22, and family friend Mike Vanway, 22, planned to stop on Maui before eventually heading to Asia. On Sunday, however, Hurricane Julio battered the 42-foot sailboat.
“When I talked to my brother today, (he said) the rogue wave hit the boat, put it on its side. He said it literally knocked, wiped away the deck and it shattered the hatch, and just all the water came rushing in,” said Linda Neely Bish, the captain’s sister.
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