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67 years ago, harrowing CG rescue off Chatham Mass

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If there was ever a "how did they not all die??" rescue, it was the Coast Guard 36500 surf boat saving the crew of the broken-in-half tanker PENDLETON at night in impossible winter storm weather in an impossibly small boat with 90-horse gasoline engine a broken compass:

http://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/heroic-rescue-pendleton-crew-1952/

The article says it better than I could.  But they (crew of 4) took on 31 men from Pendleton after she broke in two and before the aft section sank.  There's at least a hundred ways they all should have died.  The boat coxswain knew they were taking on way too many and probably would swamp and sink and he really should not take them all, but (in the book I read) the thought came to him, "Well, I guess we all live-- or we all die", which he said actually gave him a feeling of acceptance and peace  in the middle of that maelstrom.  

They never should have been able to make it over the bar outside Chatham in those seas, and should never have been able to find the small harbor opening without a compass (which got smashed early on), but they did, and there the buoy and entrance was, in white-out conditions.

I'm a Coast Guard veteran so I'm biased.  But I still can't believe this story.   We rag sailors sometimes complain about the Coast Guard doing this or that, but they are definitely there when the chips are down.

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Wait for someone to show up here saying that those surfboats were not designed for that sort of mission! Great story and those hero's deserve all the tribute they get!

Thanks Nola

 

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Read the book and saw the film; pretty amazing stuff!

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One of my favourite movies, I didn't realise there was a book but I will track it down. I've watched the movie about 5 times. 

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I was at the Chatham bar Inn a few years ago and they had a display about this event. Absolutly amazing. I seem to remember one writing that the coast guard tried to duplicate the rescue by putting 32 men on the boat in calm water at the dock and couldn't figure out how they did it.

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